Over the years, the macabre, pen-and-ink drawings of artist Edward Gorey have inspiring many a theatrical venture, from the Tony Award-winning 1977 Broadway production of Dracula, which Gorey designed, to Off-Broadway's Amphigorey in 1994.
Gorey died on April 15 of this year, at age 75, but it seems his influence on the theatre hasn't passed away. A new Gorey play, entitled Gorey Details, is currently casting and may reach Off Broadway sometime in early fall, according to a source close to the production.
Gorey Details has been in development for several years and now features as its composer Peter Matz. A constant throughout its many versions has been director and choreographer Daniel Levans.
It is uncertain at this time which Off-Broadway theatre would become Gorey's home, but several houses are open, including the Lucille Lortel, while others feature productions with possibly shaky prospects, including the Promenade Theatre's High Infidelity and Century Center's Avow.
* Edward Gorey, whose name aptly described his art, died Saturday, April 15, in Hyannis, MA, according to the New York Times. He was 75 and had, for many years, lived in Cape Cod.
Gorey was one of the world's best known illustrators, a successor to Charles Addams with his eerie, gallows humor, black and white drawings. Accompanying text, often written by Gorey (though he also illustrated the books of many other authors) was no less creepy, detailing the untimely and unlikely deaths of small, foolish children, or the habits of an unidentifiable beast who comes to visit a family and stays and stays. It was only appropriate that Gorey, who was born in Chicago in 1925, was called upon to create an animated introduction to the PBS series "Mystery." In the well-known intro, a funereal urn grows roses, Victorian figures play croquet in the rain, and the rowboat depicted on a mysterious lady's hand fan goes from showing two figures to -- after a clap of thunder -- only one.
That Gorey was asked to design the sets and costumes for a 1997 Broadway revival of Dracula surprised, perhaps, no one. That the Frank Langella starrer became a hit was a bit more startling. Gorey designed each scene in his patented scratchy black and white style (albeit, with a dash of red), making the play look every inch the Gothic fantasy it is. Gorey won a Tony Award for his costumes, and the show went on to run 925 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre. The production was subsequently staged in London, with Terence Stamp playing the Count.
Theatrical talents continued to draw on Gorey's sense of wicked fancy from time to time, but with less success. Other revues adapted from his work include Gorey Stories, Tinned Lettuce and Amphigorey. The last, written and designed by Gorey, ran 50 performances in 1994 at the Perry Street Theatre.
Gorey wrote more than 100 books, including "The Doubtful Guest," "The Gashlycrumb Tinies," and "The Loathsome Couple."
--By Robert Simonson