Goodspeed Confirms Eder in Camille Claudel Musical, and Has Tammy Wynette Show in 2003

News   Goodspeed Confirms Eder in Camille Claudel Musical, and Has Tammy Wynette Show in 2003 Goodspeed Musicals has officially announced the premiere engagement of Frank Wildhorn's musical, Camille Claudel, starring Linda Eder, to play at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, this summer.
Linda Eder
Linda Eder

Playbill On-Line first reported in January that Goodspeed's developmental space, the Norma Terris, would host the aborning work about the French sculptress who was the lover-muse of Auguste Rodin. The summer run, which prefigures an expected Broadway premiere in spring 2004, plays Aug. 14-Sept. 7.

Gabriel Barre will direct the show, which has book and lyrics by Nan Knighton (The Scarlet Pimpernel) and music by Frank Wildhorn (Pimpernel, Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War).

"A woman who broke all the rules, Camille Claudel found her passion for sculpting in the late 1800s, with Auguste Rodin as her mentor," according to the Goodspeed announcement. "With humor and a boundless zest for life, Claudel enchanted Rodin to become his mistress and muse, turning what began as pure love into a stormy journey to discover where the line between lover and competitor is drawn."

Eder, the belter some compare to Streisand, made her Broadway debut as Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde. For her work, she earned the Theatre World Award for Best Broadway Debut as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical. She has recorded seven solo records and plays concerts around the country.

Nan Knighton received a 1998 Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for The Scarlet Pimpernel. She also wrote the stage adaptation for Robert Stigwood's Saturday Night Fever. Goodspeed Musicals also announced the new musical, Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story, to play May 15-June 8 at the Norma Terris.

Opened in 1984, the Terris is a place where paying audiences see full productions of works in progress. The creative team usually stays in residence, tweaking and changing a show when possible or necessary. Critics are not invited.

A third staging in the Goodspeed season will be announced, for Nov. 13-Dec. 7.

"Considered the First Lady of Country Music, Tammy Wynette's triumph and tragedies come to life in Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story," according to the Goodspeed announcement. "Her professional successes, with over 50 hit songs and millions of fans, were sometimes overshadowed by her often-frustrated search for love which she eventually found with her longtime friend and collaborator, George Richey."

Stand by Your Man has a book by Mark St. Germain (Camping with Henry & Tom). Gabriel Barre will direct and stage the musical tribute.

Barre staged The Wild Party at the Manhattan Theatre Club. His Goodspeed credits include the revival of King of Hearts, Sweeney Todd and Finian's Rainbow and a number of new shows both at the flagship Goodspeed Opera House and at the Terris, including Summer of ’42, Houdini, Dorian, Fanny Hill and Honky-Tonk Highway.

Tickets are currently available only by purchasing advance season subscriptions for The Norma Terris Theatre through the box office (860) 873-8668. Visit www.goodspeed.org.

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No official announcement has been made for Camille Claudel on Broadway (expected to be produced by Clear Channel), though it's thought to be aimed at spring 2004. Wildhorn also has a staging of Dracula in the wings.

Isabelle Adjani played the artist in a 1988 French film, "Camille Claudel."

The artist is also the subject of another musical being developed by Connecticut composer-lyricist-librettist Lori McKelvey, who won the 2002 Kleban Award for her libretto to Camila, seen at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre in fall 2001. Her version is called M. Claudel.

Wildhorn's collaborators on Dracula are Don Black and Christopher Hampton.