The Ordway Music Theatre season in St. Paul, MN, begins July 13 with the first preview of the national tour of Jolson: A Spectacular Musical, heralding a year of tours, world premieres and fresh revivals from the unique performing arts organization that both books and produces shows.
The 1999-2000 season, split between the 1900-seat Mainstage and the 315-seat McKnight Theatre, will see return engagements of Rent (Dec. 21, 1999-Jan. 1, 2000) and Les Miserables (June 7-24, 2000), plus the world premiere of the Terrence Mann-Jerome Korman rock musical, Romeo and Juliet (Aug. 14-Sept. 5), the world premiere of a romantic musical comedy called Adventures in Love (April 4-May 28, 2000), the booking of an Ordway-produced tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (May 30-June 4, 2000) and an Ordway original production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Nov. 5-21).
The national tour of The Scarlet Pimpernel is also slated, March 7 18, 2000. A three-month sitdown of Maripat Donovan and Vicki Quade's Late Night Catechism will play the McKnight Sept. 28, 1999-Jan. 9, 2000. Jolson, starring Mike Burstyn, continues to July 25.
Mann and Korman's rock version of Shakespeare's tale of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, will receive its world premiere on the Ordway Mainstage. Mann directs the piece with choreography Christopher d'Amboise and musical direction by Korman. The show's casting announcement bills Romeo and Juliet, the Musical as being "pre-Broadway."
In February 1999, Romeo received a sold out, 10-performance workshop production at CT's Goodspeed-at-Chester with the same creative team. The workshop starred Miss Saigon's Deedee Lynn Magno as Juliet and Tim Martin Gleason as Romeo.
Mann, a two-time Tony Award nominee for Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast, created the role of Chauvelin in the first version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. He is the artistic director of North Carolina Theatre. Korman, the musical director for the National Dance Institute, has composed for daytime television and conducted at the Kennedy Center, the White House and Lincoln Center.
Adventures in Love will also make its world premiere at the Ordway, at the smaller McKnight stage. With music by Zina Goldrich and lyrics by Marcy Heisler, Adventures is a musical comedy about falling in love, with the "relationships, rituals and revenge" that go with it. Goldrich and Heisler were named Joseph Papp Artists in Residence at Second Stage (where their Dear Edwina was showcased). Their work was heard in the Varese Sarabande recording, "Broadway Bound Volume II: New Writers for the Musical Theater" and in a cabaret act called Make Your Own Party at Don't Tell Mama in New York.
There is no complete casting yet for the new staging of A Funny Thing Happened... or Romeo and Juliet. The national tour of Buddy is being produced by the Ordway, which hosts the show six months after its December 1999 launch.
Subscription tickets ($273-$130) are available by calling (651) 224 7661. Single tickets will go on sale in the summer through the Ordway Box Office number at (651) 224-4222. The Ordway Theatre is on the web at http://www.ordway.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz