The show is produced by Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (United Theatres of Vienna), one of Europe’s leading producing companies, and will be directed by Francesca Zambello, who will soon move to Broadway to direct the new Disney musical The Little Mermaid, and whose work was recently seen in London, where she staged a gigantic production of Showboat at the Royal Albert Hall. Zambello’s staging of Kurt Weill’s Lady in the Dark at the National Theatre in London received the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical in 1997.
German musical superstar Uwe Kröger (Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, The Three Musketeers) will play the role of the English aristocrat Maxim de Winter, while Dutch born Wietske van Tongeren will create the role of his new young wife, who tries to replace the spirit of Maxim’s first wife, the beautiful, ever-dominant and omnipresent Rebecca. The other leading roles will be played by Susan Rigvava-Dumas, Carin Filipcic, Carsten Lepper, Kerstin Ibald, André Bauer, Noberto Bertassi and Thomas Bayer.
Set designer Peter J. Davison will recreate Maxim de Winter’s legendary country manor Manderley, and Birgit Hutter will design the costumes. Denni Sayers, a young unconventional choreographer, will join lighting designer Andrew Voller and musical director Caspar Richter in the leading creative team.
Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay are very popular in Austria and Germany for their hit musical Elisabeth, an unconventional look to the life of the ill-fated Austrian Empress, which played for 12 years and 1,752 performances in Vienna, and has been staged in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Hungary, Italy and Japan.
Before their successful career in the musical theatre world, Kunze and Levay were the leading members of pop group Silver Convention, whose hit “Fly Robin Fly” topped the U.S. Billboard Chart and won them a Grammy Award. Michael Kunze wrote the German lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard, and for all the Disney musicals. Sylvester Levay wrote dozens of scores for Hollywood feature films and television shows, and composed music for Elton John, Donna Summer and Sister Sledge. Their latest effort was Mozart!, a musical about the life of the Salzburg-born composer, which opened at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1999, where it ran for two seasons and played 419 performances.