As first reported by Playbill.com, Michael John LaChiusa's new musical, See What I Wanna See—formerly titled R Shomon—will have its New York debut at the Public Theater in the fall.
The work premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival's Nikos Stage on July 21, 2004. Four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald starred, along with Michael C. Hall, Henry Stram, Mary Testa and Tom Wopat. Public artistic director Oskar Eustis confirmed that he was seeking McDonald for the musical.
McDonald and LaChiusa worked together on the Broadway musical Marie Christine. McDonald has also recorded several LaChiusa songs on her solo albums.
Ted Sperling will be director, repeating his Williamstown work.
R Shomon is drawn from the short stories of Ryonsuke Akutagawa— also the inspiration the classic Kurosawa film "Rashomon". The film concerned the divergent and conflicting eyewitness accounts surrounding a rape and a murder in a remote wooded area. With each new bit of information, the truth surrounding the incident becomes less easy to comprehend. "It's actually based on several short stories, one of which is the famous Rashomon story," Sperling told Playbill.com. "That one is set on the eve of the premiere of the movie, in 1953, and then the second act is another story which is contemporary. Both take place in Central Park."
The new season at the Public will also include Rinne Groff's The Ruby Sunrise, directed by Eustis; and the world premieres of José Rivera's School of the Americas, David Grimm's Measure for Pleasure Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy; and Diana Son's Satellites.
All of the above playwrights—save Groff, with whom Eustis has a history at Trinity Rep—have had plays produced at the Public before.
Rinne Groff's plays include Inky, Moliere Impromptu and The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem. Obie Award-winning playwright José Rivera penned References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Adoration of the Old Woman and "The Motorcycle Diaries." David Grimm has also written The Savages of Hartford and Kit Marlowe. Diana Son's plays include Stop Kiss, Stealing Fire, R.A.W. ('Cause I'm a Woman), Happy Birthday Jack, Fishes, Boy and 2000 Miles.
Anna Deavere Smith is the writer and actress who has weaved history, interviews and impersonation in such one-person shows as Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles. Her new show will address the politics of the ailing or dying human body. Eustis said the work was still in development. Smith traveled to Florida during the recent legal, political and moral controversies surrounding Terri Schiavo to conduct research for the work.
Artistic Director Eustis confirmed that Lynn Collins and Brian Bedford will co-star in this summer's production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, which will run June 25-July 17 at the Delacorte. Mark Lamos directs.
The following summer will see Academy Award winner Meryl Streep in a production of Mother Courage. The play, one of Bertolt Brecht's best known works, will feature an adaptation by Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner.
Two productions were also announced for the 2006-2007 Public Theater season: John Guare's Free Man of Color and David Henry Hwang's Yellowface.
More details about the 2005-2006 season, which marks the Public Theater's 50th anniversary, will be announced shortly.