It's a season of bad boys (and girls) at La Jolla Playhouse. Frank Wildhorn will debut his latest, The Musical Dracula, in the fall, and "The English Patient" scribe Michael Onaatje brings The Collected Works of Billy the Kid to the stage in June. Additionally, Doug Wright, author of Quills (now a successful film about one of the ultimate bad boys—the Marquis de Sade), turns his attention towards bad girl Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, whose free-spirited flight through European history is chronicled in a special work-in-progress presentation of I Am My Own Wife (dates TBA), while a dark comedy entitled Diva premieres in the early fall. In the above company, the good girls of Be Aggressive, a new comedy about cheerleading by San Diego playwright Annie Weisman, must be feeling mighty lonely.
Dracula is perhaps the baddest of all mentioned—the undead count has terrorized millions through the original Bram Stoker novel, dozens of films and even a few stage plays. But the new Wildhorn musical will be the first time the vampire has really sung. La Jolla Playhouse interim artistic director Des McAnuff (Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) directs.
Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Savages) will write the book and Don Black will provide the lyrics. Black's previous theatrical experience includes several Andrew Lloyd Webber projects—the Tony Award-winning Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love and Tell Me on a Sunday, the sung part of Song and Dance. He won an Academy Award for the song "Born Free." He and Hampton both worked together on Sunset.
The Musical Dracula makes its world premiere Oct. 2-Nov. 11 with an opening Oct. 14. Atlantic Records has already promised an original cast recording.
Dracula ends the La Jolla season; Our Town begins it. The revival of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning play runs May 15-June 17 with an opening night May 20. Former La Jolla artistic director Michael Grief (Rent) directs this slice of small-town life at the turn of the century. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, running June 12-July 15, puts together the true details in the life of famed Wild West outlaw William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. On his final night, Billy tells of the men he's murdered and the women he's loved as he awaits the coming of the man sent to kill him.
McAnuff will compose the drama's score. Kate Whoriskey (the upcoming Regina Taylor world premiere Drowning Crow) directs Billy the Kid, opening June. 17.
La Jolla regular Lisa Peterson (Wonderland, Valley Song) helms Weisman's Be Agressive, running July 24-Aug. 26. A coming-of-age story of a high school cheerleader set in a La Jolla-ish town in Southern California, Be Agressive introduces "the world of pom-poms and prozac, back tucks and blackmail, freeways and juice clubs."
The Southern California premiere of The Laramie Project follows July 31-Sept. 2. The original members of the Tectonic Theatre Project will again stage the Moises Kaufman work about the murder of gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.
Hollywood is the subject of Howard M. Gould's Diva, premiering Sept. 11-Oct. 14. The creature of the title is film star Deanna Denninger, trying to make it in television despite her own bad behavior. Diva opens Sept. 16.
Gould knows a bit about Hollywood—he has written for television on "Home Improvement" and served as executive producer on "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" and "Cybill." Neel Keller, who helmed last season's The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, directs.
I Am My Own Wife will run July 10-July 29 and is included in the 2001 subscription deal. Wright was a Golden Globe nominee for the film version of Quills, which stars Academy Award nominee Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet. Wright's plays also include Not Suitable for Children, which will premiere at New York City's Vineyard Theatre in the fall.
Subscriptions to the La Jolla season are $114-$252. La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road. For reservations, call (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lajollaplayhouse.com.