The show by composer Friedman, known for his cabaret songs, and the Tony Award-nominated writer Kellogg (Anna Karenina) is "a new western musical loosely based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure — and we do mean loosely," according to the Lyric Stage announcement. "When Johnny Blood, a hot tempered young cowboy, is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a bar fight, his sister, a novice nun in a nearby mission, goes to the governor to plead for her brother's life. The governor promises to pardon Johnny if his sister, the sister, will 'do his bidding' for the night."
The "humorous complications involve a hard-bitten sheriff, a voluptuous saloon girl and a priest who reads Nietzsche."
Desperate Measures had a New York workshop in June 2003, after which Lyric Stage artistic director Steven Jones confirmed it for his theatre for 2004, as a co production with Casa Manana (where it will play a week, May 18-23).
Is the new show as dark as the famous Shakespeare "problem play" that inspired it?
"It's very much a comedy," Jones told Playbill On-Line. "It's very lighthearted and fun...an old-fashioned book musical with a country-western-flavored score, which is something new for David." The Lyric Stage run lasts April 30-May 15.
Desperate Measures is the third David Friedman premiere at Lyric Stage. In 1999, Lyric Stage presented the U.S. mainland premiere of King Island Christmas, and in 2001 Listen to My Heart: The Songs of David Friedman debuted at Lyric Stage.
The Desperate Measures cast includes Ron Gonzalez, Dara Whitehead, Brad Campbell, Gina Biancardi, Jimmy Nelson and Brad Jackson.
Cheryl Denson directs with musical direction by James McQuillen.
Designers are Wade Giampa (sets), Susan A. White (lights) and Billie Boston (costumes).
Desperate Measures previews April 30 and runs May 1-15, in the Irving Arts Center's Dupree Theater. Tickets are priced from $22-$29 and are available by calling (972) 252-2787. For more information, visit www.lyricstage.org.
Lyric Stage has produced 11 world premieres, including Roadside, After the Fair, Joseph and Mary, Cather County and more.