Formerly titled Disposable, the work is described as "a multi-media music theatre piece about a character named Danny Reyes and a culture obsessed with money, power and celebrity."
Playbill On-Line first reported (Dec. 22, 2003) that director Michael Greif (Rent, Never Gonna Dance), writer Jessica Hagedorn (Dogeaters) and composer Mark Bennett (Golda's Balcony) would team up to develop a new musical titled Disposable for California's La Jolla Playhouse.
"As the work is in the initial stages of long-term development, La Jolla Playhouse's artistic staff and the Most Wanted creative team are carefully examining the story, structure, plot and characters of this work-in-progress," according to a production spokesperson.
Torres (Caligula, A Christmas Carol, the upcoming Altar Boyz) will star in the lead role opposite Cavenaugh (Urban Cowboy, "One Life to Live"), Lenox (Doubt, Caroline, or Change) and McConahay (The Full Monty, Cabaret) in the early January workshop. The cast also features Joseph Anthony Foronda (Pacific Overtures), Valerie MacCarthy, David McDonald (Side Show), Don Richard (Urinetown), Ivette Sosa ("Chasing Papi," Confession of a Former Pop Star), Daniel Torres and Branch Woodman (Crazy for You). James Sampliner (Brooklyn, Never Gonna Dance) will serve as the music director.
The developing production has already garnered much attention and criticism, causing La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff to issue a statement clarifying the work in an attempt to quell the controversy and negative response it had drawn. "In 2004, Jessica Hagedorn, Mark Bennett and former La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Michael Greif will create a new music theatre piece, Disposable, a play loosely inspired by the life of Andrew Cunanan, the serial killer who achieved notoriety for the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace," McAnuff said. "The authors intend Disposable to be a metaphor for the repercussions of a culture obsessed with money, power and fame."
The artistic director explained the hope for the work was to address the Cunanan subject matter as significantly as did The Laramie Project the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard. Citing past La Jolla shows (The Collected Works of Billy The Kid, I Think I Like Girls, I Am My Own Wife), Broadway fare (The Who's Tommy, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins) and even Shakespeare (Macbeth, Richard III), McAnuff asserts that "theatre has historically been a forum where difficult subjects are explored."
In 1997, Andrew Cunanan went on a cross-country killing spree that lasted three months. Most of his five victims, and the murderer himself, were gay. His final murder was that of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace. Cunanan was found dead in a Florida houseboat eight days later.
Greif directed The Distance From Here for MCC Theatre and Never Gonna Dance on Broadway. His other credits include Machinal, A Bright Room Called Day, Casanova, Marisol, Pericles, Dogeaters and Fuckin' A — all at the Public Theatre. The former La Jolla Playhouse artistic director also helmed Bright Lights Big City (NYTW), Monster (Classic Stage Company), A Few Stout Individuals (Signature Theatre), Betty Rules (Zipper Theatre) and Cavedweller (NYTW).