Dorian, the new musical version of Oscar Wilde's novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," about beauty, youth and a decadent society, will play May 11-June 4 in the Goodspeed-at-Chester/Norma Terris Theatre in Connecticut.
Tom Stuart, a Donny Osmond understudy for Joseph... on tour, will play the youth-obsessed title character, Nancy Anderson (Goodspeed's Fanny Hill) will be Sybil Vane, Tom Souhrada will be Basil Hallward and Tom Flynn (The Who's Tommy and How to Succeed...) will play Lord Henry Wooten. The company also includes Sutton Foster, Verna Pierce, Steve Routman, Tina Stafford, Barbara Tirrell, Vince Trani and Sam Zeller.
Goodspeed-at-Chester is the new-musicals development arm of the Goodspeed Opera House. Dorian, by librettist lyricist composer Richard Gleaves, will be helmed by Gabriel Barre, who is fresh from Off Broadway's decadent The Wild Party.
The musical's plot is drawn from the stylish novel: Isolated in a single room during his childhood, Dorian Gray inherits his grandfather's vast fortune and finds freedom in a decadent society that craves to exploit his innocence. Yearning to preserve his youthful beauty, Dorian forfeits his soul so his portrait ages while he remains forever young.
The serious tuner was first developed by Goodspeed in partnership with the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and presented in a 1997 staged reading at Goodspeed-at-Chester and in 1998 at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals. Gleaves is a graduate of the University of North Texas. Dorian is his first musical. This is not the first time the novel has inspired a musical: There is also an opera called The Picture of Dorian Gray, which had its American premiere by Florentine Opera in Milwaukee in spring 1999.
Designers for Dorian are James Youmans (set), Pamela Scofield (costume), Timothy Hunter (lighting). Stephen Oremus is musical director.
As previously announced, Dorian will be followed by the world premiere of Summer of '42, Aug. 10-Sept. 3. Barre will also direct. A revised version of Jerry Herman's 1969 Dear World will play Chester Nov. 16-Dec. 10.
The season in the intimate Norma Terris in Chester, CT, offers full stagings, but the productions are not open to reviewers because the work is still in development.
Goodspeed-at-Chester subscriptions are available for $75. Individual tickets are $29. For information, call Goodspeed at (860) 873-8668.
-- By Kenneth Jones