Musical theatre writers Jay Gaither (music) and Owen Robertson (book and lyrics) will present a musical version of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" in a free reading Oct. 18 in Boston. The reading of Dracula is open to the public.
Considered the first step towards a full scale Boston production that they hope to stage in the fall of 2000, the Gaither/Robertson work was developed under the supervision of Murray Yeston in a workshop setting.
The new musical is described by production sources as a "serious treatment of the classic tale of Dracula, the Transylvanian count, and the impact he has on a group of Victorian Londoners in 1897."
Boston Theater Works' artistic director and founder Jason Southerland ,as well as musical director Jack Aaronson, are connected with the project. Southerland was Hal Prince's assistant on Show Boat and Jerry Zaks' assistant on Assassins.
Holbee, Inc. is producing Dracula and plans to create a full-scale touring production which will have its premiere in Boston and eventually make its way to Broadway, production sources said. The Stoker source material has inspired other musical theatre writers. A musical called Possessed (by librettists Jason Darrow and Charles Marasco, lyricist Darrow and composer Carter Cathcart) has found regional life and a recording is on store shelves, and composer Frank Wildhorn (The Civil War, The Scarlet Pimpernel) has said the fanged count is the center of a work-in-progress by him.
Dracula's cast features Jake Aaron, Andrew Byrne, Bob Dolan, Patrick Fitzgerald, Christopher Handy, Nicole Kempskie, Mark Lawson, Michael Moon, Rachel Peters, Sarah Polen, Jean Powers, Dawn Tucker, Amy White and J.H. Williston.
A staged reading for potential Dracula backers will take place sometime in the New Year.
Eight years ago, Gaither and Robertson met in a workshop and began developing the piece. Paper Mill Playhouse was interested in the show, but after a six-month negotiation talks broke down. In the three years since, Jay Gathier has done one other show, Hurricane, at the O'Neill Center.
Owen Robertson told Playbill On-Line that Producer Mike Brown, who runs Holbee, Inc. told him, "There's going to be a Dracula show on Broadway at some point, because it's such an icon -- and it's going to be yours."
Dracula's reading will be Oct. 18, at 8 pm on the Speakeasy Theater stage at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. For reservations call (212) 353-7783.
-- By Murdoch McBride