Gauguin Musical Gets NYC Run Starting Nov. 8

News   Gauguin Musical Gets NYC Run Starting Nov. 8 Gauguin/Savage Light, a musical about the famed artist who settled in Tahiti, begins a commercial Off-Off-Broadway run Nov. 8 at Abingdon Theatre's Dorothy Strelsin Theatre.

Billed as a "musical sketchbook," the work (to Dec. 31) has a score, book and lyrics by George Fischoff. A cast recording of an earlier workshop run is on the Original Cast Records label.

The non-Equity cast is made up of players who earned solid reviews (including an embrace from The New York Times) when the show played an earlier run in 2006.

Fischoff, the composer of the musicals Georgy and Sayonara, as well as the pop hits "Lazy Day" and "98.6," will play piano in the intimate production of his musical, directed by Michael Ormond and choreographed by Joe Barros.

A non-Equity April-May workshop run on West 42nd Street earned Fischoff's musical about the life of French impressionist Paul Gauguin some positive attention from critics.

Fischoff told Playbill.com that during the earlier run of the show (seen by 650 people), he sold 160 CDs of the score, which encouraged him that there was a passion for the material — suggesting a fall remount would sell. Jeff Nardone will again play Gauguin, and Kelly Dynan will also be featured.

Gauguin/Savage Light will play Abingdon's 50-seat Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, 312 West 36th Street. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, with matinees Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

For tickets call (212) 868-4444 or visit smarttix.com.

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In addition to being a songwriter, Fischoff is a respected keyboard instrumentalist and recording artist. He wrote the pop hits "98.6" and "Lazy Day" with lyricist Tony Powers 40 years ago and still gets royalty checks, he said. Those who have recorded his work include Perry Como and Herb Alpert.

The Gauguin show was on a shelf for years until Fischoff took another crack at it. It was seen in a reading at The York Theatre Company and had a second staged reading before getting its April 2006 workshop, a modest affair with no sets.

Fischoff said his goal with the 90-minute musical about the struggles of legendary painter Gauguin is "to inspire audiences to find what's special about them."

Paris, Tahiti, a teenage mistress and Gauguin's relationship with Vincent van Gogh are all elements in the musical.

There will be more than a dozen reproductions of Gauguin paintings in the production, Fischoff said.

Fischoff wrote music to the musical Sayonara, based on the James Michener novel and later film. Lyrics are by Hy Gilbert, and book is by William Luce. The work was seen regionally and is licensed through Samuel French. Its most visible staging was by the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.

Fischoff also wrote music to Carole Bayer's lyrics for the flop Broadway musical, Georgy, based on "Georgy Girl," which played 11 performances in 1970. Two of its actresses were Tony Award nominated.

The writer, now 68 years old, has had recent success with the musical Shepherd: The Story of David, a 90-minute exploration of the story of Biblical King David. It ran Off-Off Broadway for six months in 1993-94 and has been seen regionally.