London and Berger Give Peretz's Marketplace a Klezmer Kick in Philly Beginning Sept. 28

News   London and Berger Give Peretz's Marketplace a Klezmer Kick in Philly Beginning Sept. 28 Yiddish playwright I.L. Peretz's 1907 play, A Night in the Old Marketplace, comes to new life as a klezmer-filled musical Sept. 28-Oct. 21 at Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia.

The musical adaptation by composer Frank London and lyricist-librettist Glen Berger (with concept by Alexandra Aron) opens the Prince's 24th season.

A Night in the Old Marketplace, officially opening Oct. 6, is "a magical tale of men who wrestle with ghosts in order to right a past wrong, in a fantastic journey to rediscover the meaning of faith," according to Prince. "Through music, imagery, and movement, the intense power and vibrancy of Peretz's neglected masterpiece will come to the stage as a thrilling modern musical."

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Ray Wills (Broadway's The Producers) heads the cast as the Badkhn, "the charismatic entertainer who has become a bitter and cynical man with an insane plan to remake the world."

Two-time Barrymore nominee, Guil Fisher, takes on the role of the Recluse, a Jewish mystic who lives in the mountains with his trained bear. The international cast also includes Danish-born and Israeli-raised Charlotte Cohn (Broadway's La Boheme) as the seductive Gargoyle that comes to life and revels in chaos. Deborah Grausman plays the angelic drowned bride Sheyndele, and Steven Rattazzi plays her grieving lover, Nosn. Making up the ensemble are Melinda Blake, Mathew F. Burrow, Elisa Matthews and Nicholas F. Saverine.

According to the Prince, "The rich eclectic score, which blends klezmer, jazz, classical and rock genres, is brought to life by an international ensemble of musicians. Together they form a musical backdrop that brings to mind the styles of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht."

A concept album was released earlier this year on Soundbrush Records.

The production was conceived and is directed by Alexandra Aron, whose credits include Rob Urbanati's Karaoke Night at the Suicide Shack for Queen's Theater in the Park as well as Shakesperience Productions' version of As You Like It.

Grammy Award-winning composer Frank London (The Klezmatics), returns to the Prince after his world premiere, Green Violin in 2003.

Book writer and lyricist Glen Berger won a 1998 Ovation Award for Best Play for his work Great Men of Science, Nos. 21 & 22. He has also been nominated for three Emmy Awards for his work on the PBS children's series "Arthur" and "Postcards from Buster." He is currently working with Julie Taymor and Irish band U2 on the upcoming musical Spider-Man.

Rounding out the artistic team are music director Eric Barnes, scenic designer Lauren Helpern, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau and sound designer Nick Kourtides. New York fashion designer Levi Okunov provides costume design.

Isaac Leib Peretz lived 1852-1915. He wrote stories, folk tales and plays and, along with Sholom Aleichem, is considered a major Yiddish voice.

Tickets are $35 for preview performances (Sept. 28-Oct. 5), $40 for weekday evenings and all matinees, and $55 for Saturday evening performances.

Prince Music Theater is located at 1412 Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia. For more information visit www.princemusictheater.org.