Tickets have gone on sale for King David, the Alan Menken/Tim Rice "oratorio" that will reopen Broadway's refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre May 15 -- though in a special promotion for American Express Gold Card holders only, according to production spokesperson Patty Onagan, who said tickets are on sale to groups as well.
Amex Gold Card holders only can call (212) 307-GOLD (307-4653).
Disney's Lisa Edwards said single tickets will go on sale to the general public March 9 through Ticketmaster: (212) 307-4100. Tickets cost $45-$75.
The Walt Disney Company will reopen the refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre on New York's 42nd Street on May 15, 1997, five days earlier than originally scheduled.
Three previews have been added to the "oratorio" concert version of Menken and Rice's Biblical musical King David directed by Mike Ockrent, which is now scheduled to play three previews May 15-17, open May 18, and run four more performances, May 20-23. The entire run was originally scheduled for May 20-24, 1997. Menken has written scores for Disney's Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Rice, lyricist for two other Biblical-themed musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, helped Menken finish his scores to Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast after Menken's partner Howard Ashman died of AIDS. King David will be their first full score together.
Group sales reservations are now being taken by calling (800) 439-9000.
Ockrent said King David will have seven leads -- David, his wife Bathsheba (who will narrate), his rival Saul, plus Milcha, Joab, Jonathan and Samuel. The two-hour forty-minute song cycle will be presented with a chorus of 30 and an orchestra of 65. Ockrent said the performers will be costumed and there will be a set, but that the production would not be choreographed or fully staged.
Ockrent said casting is underway, and that the cast and design team would be announced by November 1996, and that tickets would likely go on sale before the end fo 1996.
The production will be recorded live and released as an audio CD in 1997, Rice said, explaining that he's following the same developmental route he and Andrew Lloyd Webber went with Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, both of which started life as recordings. Evita also was performed in concert before becoming a stage musical.
Co-producer Andre Djaoui told Playbill On-Line that a fully-staged stage musical version of King David is being considered for fall 1998.
Menken described King David as a song-cycle about David, "one of the great heroes of Jewish history," who began as a shepherd boy, slew the giant Goliath, and rose to unite the Israelites and become their first true king in the capital, Jerusalem.
At an August press preview of King David, Menken performed a medley of the following songs: "The Man Who Would Be King," "The Enemy Within," "Saul Has Slain His Thousands," "You Have It All," "Sheer Perfection" and "The New Jerusalem." All were in showtune style, with evidences of both gospel and cantorial influences. The songs sound most similar to his score for the unproduced TV musical "Messiah on Mott Street."
Menken said he cancelled King David's planned debut in Caesaria, Israel in September because the score was not complete, and the "dream come-true" opportunity to reopen the New Amsterdam was too good to pass up. Security concerns reportedly also influenced the decision.
Ockrent told Playbill On-Line that he "can't imagine" that the oratorio would be eligible for a Tony Award, "but you never know what the Tony committee will do." King David opens after the deadline for the 1997 awards in any case.
Also planned for the New Amsterdam will be a stage adaptation of Disney's animated film The Lion King directed by Julie Taymor. The Lion King will open on Broadway in fall 1997 after an eight weeks tryout starting in July at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.
The reopening of the 1903-vintage New Amsterdam, where Florenz Ziegfeld once presented his legendary Follies 1913-1927, will come five months behind the originally announced reopening date of January 1997. The theatre hosted its last live stage show in 1937, and has been used for film or lain dark since then. Disney reportedly is spending $34 million to fix up the 1801-seat theatre.
In a statement, the Walt Disney Co. Said the New Amsterdam would host a "variety of live stage entertainment produced by Disney and other production entities. Walt Disney Theatrical Productions plans to launch one new show each year beginning in 1997."
Gov. Pataki said the reopening of the New Amsterdam will provide the centerpiece of the 42nd Street revival, which he envisions as becoming "the number one tourist attraction in America."