John Cullum Comes of Age in Wilder, a New Musical, Starting Off-Bway Oct. 14

News   John Cullum Comes of Age in Wilder, a New Musical, Starting Off-Bway Oct. 14 The phrase "erotic chamber musical" will be pricking up the ears of subscribers to Playwrights Horizons this month, with the Oct. 14 start Wilder, a new musical starring John Cullum.
John Cullum, star of Playwrights Horizons' Wilder.
John Cullum, star of Playwrights Horizons' Wilder.

The Jack Herrick-Mike Craver-Erin Cressida Wilson musical is based on a play Wilson wrote about life in and around a Depression-era brothel. Opening is Oct. 26. The run continues to Nov. 14 at the intimate Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons on West 42nd Street.

Lisa Portes directs a company led by John Cullum, who plays the title character, an old man looking back on his life. The musical features Lacey Kohl as Jessie/Melora and Jeremiah Miller as the younger Wilder.

"Wilder is an erotic chamber musical about a man who looks back on his life, having hit puberty while living in a Depression-era bordello," according to production notes. "Through its haunting music and frank sensuality, Wilder playfully and poetically explores a tangled landscape of Oedipal longing."

Musician-composers Herrick and Craver, members of the Red Clay Ramblers, share co-author credit; the credit for book, music and lyrics blurred in the creation of the piece. Craver was one of the original creators and players in Oil City Symphony and co-wrote Radio Gals.

Cullum is a two-time Tony Award winner for Shenandoah and On the Twentieth Century, and recently starred as Cladwell in Broadway's Urinetown. Lacey Kohl, also in the cast, appeared in Broadway's Grease!, Smokey Joe's Café, The Who's Tommy, Carousel.

Jeremiah Miller plays the younger Wilder. He appeared Off-Broadway in True Love (Zipper Theatre), Celebration (York Theatre) and in a reading of a revision of a Horatio Alger-inspired musical, Shine! (National Music Theatre Network).

Designers are G.W. Mercier (scenic and costume), Jane Cox (lighting) and Tom Morse (sound). Choreography is by Jane Comfort.

Erin Cressida Wilson's Off-Broadway plays include The Trail of Her Inner Thigh at Labyrinth Theatre Company, The Erotica Project at Joe's Pub (published by Cleis Press) and Hurricane at Classic Stage Company. Wilder is based on her own play, Cross-Dressing in the Depression, which was produced at Soho Rep and the Magic Theatre.

Director Portes was associate artistic director of Soho Rep (1996-98) and artistic director of the former Theater E in San Diego (1992-95). She has directed premieres, productions and workshops by her ongoing collaborators, Naomi Iizuka and Erin Cressida Wilson. She was associate director on The Who's Tommy and directing associate on the national tour of Titanic.

Playwrights Horizons is at 416 W. 42nd Street.

For subscription and ticket information, call (212) 279 4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.