This week in Vienna the cast was announced for the musical Elisabeth, which will open in the VSB Circustheater in Scheveningen (The Netherlands) 21 November 1999. Rehearsals start August 30, and the first preview is scheduled for October 30th. The current production playing at the VSB Circustheater, Miss Saigon, will close, after almost three years, on July 4th.
Elisabeth tells the story of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth, who was born in 1837 and murdered on Sept. 10, 1898 by the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. The musical was written by Sylvester Levay (music) and Michael Kunze (book and lyrics), who are re-writing parts of the show to suit the needs of the new Dutch production. Levay and Kunze are currently also writing a musical about composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which will open in Vienna on October 2nd.
Pia Douwes, who currently plays Velma Kelly in the Dutch production of Chicago, will recreate the title role of Empress Elisabeth. She created the title role in the original production in Vienna and can also be heard on the original cast recording.
Stanley Burleson, who currently plays the role of Billy Flynn in the Dutch Chicago, will play The Death. Other parts will be played by Wim van der Driessche (currently the alternate Engineer in Miss Saigon) as Lucheni, Jeroen Phaff (currently Count Grollo in Vienna in the Roman Polanski musical, Tanz der Vampire, as Emperor Franz Joseph; Dutch opera star Wilma Driessen as Empress Sophie, and Addo Kruizinga (who played The Death in the Viennese production of Elisabeth) as Crown Prince Rudolph.
The Dutch production will be directed by Eddy Habema, who also directed Cyrano, the musical, which played in The Netherlands and on Broadway. The musical will be translated by veteran translator Seth Gaaikema. Elisabeth opened in Vienna Sept. 4 1992, where it continued until April, 25 1998 and broke all known Austrian theatre records. The musical also played in Hungary and Japan. Worldwide the musical has been seen by more than 2 million visitors. -- by Maxim Bezembinder
The Netherlands correspondent