The tragic kidnapping-murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's son is the focus of a developing musical, Baby Case, slated for a March 19-31 workshop at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia.
Composer-lyricist-librettist Michael Ogborn, a Philly native, had a hit in the comic musical revue, Box Office of the Damned, produced by 1812 Productions at the Arden in 1999, but Baby Case is more ambitious, he told Playbill On-Line.
"This is a more epic story," Ogborn said. "It's highly theatrical The prologue is the [trans-Atlantic] flight of Lindbergh, his marriage to Anne Morrow, and the birth of their child, Charles Jr. Scene One, the baby is kidnapped."
Through shifting points of view and different storytelling styles, Baby Case "explores the nation's fascination with every detail of the case, regardless of how bizarre or unfounded, from the crime to the execution of Bruno Hauptmann," Ogborn said.
At turns satirical and ironic, the new piece "satirizes the personalities that rose and descended infamously in the media circus and court proceedings. There's definitely a tabloid quality to it." Ogborn, who lives in New York City, added, "The story is told through the eyes of the people who were on the periphery of the event, or had something to do with it -- for example, a maid, police, witnesses."
The Equity workshop, directed by Arden artistic director Terrence J. Nolen, is funded by an NEA new work development grant. There is no cast yet.
The show had a 1998 reading in Manhattan with Jason Workman and Diane Fratantoni as the Lindberghs.
-- By Kenneth Jones