The Glorious Ones, getting its world premiere at PPT's O'Reilly Theater, plunges into the world of commedia dell'arte and the theatre of the Italian Renaissance. Based on the novel by Francine Prose, it's about theatre people — their love for each other, and their commitment to the tradition of going on.
Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Once on This Island, Annie Get Your Gun) directs and choreographs the seven-actor musical, which has music by Flaherty and book and lyrics by Ahrens, who have been in residence in Pittsburgh for rehearsal.
The writers won the Best Score Tony Award for Ragtime and also penned songs for Dessa Rose (set in the Old South), A Man of No Importance (set in Dublin), My Favorite Year (set in the world of TV comedy) and Once on This Island (set on an island billed as "the jewel of the Antilles"), as well as Lucky Stiff (set in England and Monte Carlo).
In The Glorious Ones, Natalie Belcon (Avenue Q) plays Columbina, John Kassir plays Dottore, David Patrick Kelly (Festen) plays Pantalone, Jenny Powers (Little Women) plays Isabella Andreini, Paul Schoeffler (Sweet Charity) plays Flaminio Scala, Julyana Soelistyo (a 1998 Tony nominee for Golden Child) plays Armanda Ragusa, and Jeremy Webb (Off-Broadway's Tabletop and The Baltimore Waltz) plays Francesco Andreini.
The Public's producing artistic director, Ted Pappas, said of The Glorious Ones, "It's funny, sexy and exciting. It's a paean to artists and, essentially, a backstage musical. It’s about actors—their art, egos, romances and adventures. It takes place in 17th-century Italy. But honestly, have actors changed all that much in 400 years?" Opening at PPT is April 27. The run continues to May 20.
The creative team also includes Thomas Murray (musical director), Daniel S. Ostling (scenic designer), Mara Blumenfeld (costume designer), Stephen Strawbridge (lighting designer), Michael Starobin (orchestrator), Zach Moore (sound designer), Stanczyk Cherpakov (casting), Nevin Hedley (production stage manager), Fredric H. Orner (assistant stage manager) and Madeleine Kelly (assistant to the director/choreographer).
For tickets and further information, call (412) 316-1600, or visit www.ppt.org or the Public's box office at the O'Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Avenue.
Pittsburgh Public Theater has been an incubator of new works for many years: the world premieres of August Wilson's Jitney and King Hedley II, which are produced all over the world; Mark Hampton and Barbara J. Zitwer's Paper Doll (starring Marlo Thomas and F. Murray Abraham), which went on to regional theatres like the Long Wharf; the American premiere of Frank McGuinness' The Bird Sanctuary (starring Elizabeth Franz and Hayley Mills) which went on to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and this year's The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, which is under consideration by a number of regional theatres.