An unusual new musical that has a physicist hoping to travel back in time to meet a teen-aged Anne Frank will get its first reading Jan. 22 in New York City.
Saving Anne, by lyricist-librettist Owen Robertson and composer Jay Gaither, will have a private reading, Robertson said.
"It is a private reading." Robertson said. "It's a first reading but the second draft of the show, a pretty healthy second draft we think. We've cut a CD of five of the songs that is attracting some attention and while we still had the talented people from the recording we wanted to see how it read."
The musical play focuses on Peter Erickson, a 14-year-old science prodigy who in 1989 falls in love with the hopeful but doomed Anne Frank when he reads her famous diary, about how she and her family hid in an attic during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Over the next 10 years he grows into manhood to become an M.I.T grad student specializing in quantum physics. "Using a combination of science and Jewish mysticism he discovers a road back into time which he will utilize to accomplish his ultimate goal: To follow that road back to Nazi Germany, to save Anne Frank from the concentration camp in which she perished in 1945," according to Robertson.
Michael Schiralli (Enough About Me, Varla Jean Merman) directs. Bruce Linzer (Naked Boys Singing) is Peter. Recent "Star Search" winner Alan Green is Mark, Peter's best friend and fellow physicist. Amy White reads Rachel, "the girl who loves Peter but can't compete with his obsession for Anne." Rachel's crazy aunt (who holds the secret to time travel) is played by Elaine Psihountas Beth Ann Leoni is Anne, "a vibrant mirror of her diary in Act One and a shadow of that self in the death camp depicted in Act Two." Playing roles "from high school teens to S.S. officers," the rest of the cast includes Bethany Burgess-Smith, Alexandra De Souze, Mike Halpner, Bridget Harvey, Bonnie Joyce Johnson, Doug Shapiro, Karen Sklaire, Scott Sussman and Correy West.
Robertson and Gaither are graduates of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Their previous musical, Dracula, had a reading in Boston. Gaither's musical, Hurricane, was a Jerry Bock Award winner and was seen at the Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference. Robertson's play, Ticket to Ride, was presented at the New York International Fringe Festival and his The Women In My Soul was featured at the 2000 inaugural Midtown Theatre Festival. For inquiries, e-mail OwenRobertson@aol.com.