South Coast Repertory will present songwriter Randy Newman's new musical, The Education of Randy Newman, on June 2, 2000. The piece, a through-sung work conceived by Newman, composer-arranger Michael Roth and dramaturg Jerry Patch, had a four-day workshop at South Coast in April.
The story follows a Newmanesque Everyman from childhood in Louisiana to his arrival and adult years in Los Angeles.
According to a source close to the workshop, the piece will have an operatic style, yet incorporate such Newman standards as "Dixie Flyer," "Follow The Flag," "Jolly Coppers on Parade," "Roll With The Punches," "Love Story," "Rednecks," "Birmingham," "Louisiana 1927" and "Kingfish" -- the latter four from Newman's landmark album, "Good Ol' Boys." Michael Roth is musical director for the workshop, with Jerry Patch serving as dramaturg.
Performers who took part in the workshop include Billy Porter, Kathleen Wilhoite, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Paul McCrane (Roundabout's The Country Girl), Gregory Jbara (Damn Yankees, Victor/Victoria), Cortes Alexander and Sherry Hursey.
Composer Newman has also written film scores for "Ragtime," "The Natural" and "Toy Story" and has recorded many pop albums including "Sail Away," "Twelve Songs" and "Land of Dreams." He recently released a four disk career overview box set and played a rare concert at New York's Town Hall, Nov. 10, 1998. Newman's previous musical, Faust, has seen several incarnations at such venues as La Jolla Playhouse, in 1995, and the Goodman Theatre, in 1996. Michael Greif directed both productions. The Kennedy Center plans to mount a new version of it next February.
--By Robert Simonson
and David Lefkowitz and Willard Manus