NMTN Offers Readings of Dorian Gray and Two Freudian Musicals in NYC in 2003

News   NMTN Offers Readings of Dorian Gray and Two Freudian Musicals in NYC in 2003 National Music Theater Network, the company that offers staged readings of new musicals in a season overseen by a guest artistic director, has a trio of musicals on its 2003 slate.

Under the umbrella of Broadway USA, NMTN presents staged readings in New York City (this year at the Lamb's Theatre) and sends the season's scripts to affiliates around the nation for regional readings that, the hope is, may lead to interest in full productions. The 2003 season's guest artistic director is Gabriel Barre, though individual shows are staged by other directors.

The season begins 4 and 7 PM Feb. 24 at the Lamb's Theater with Dorian Gray, a rock musical inspired by Oscar Wilde's elegant critique of shallow, youth obsessed society, "The Picture Dorian Gray." Barry Gordon and Andrew Steven Ross penned the new musical, which is directed by Lynn Taylor-Corbett.

Dorian Gray's cast includes Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde, Little by Little), James Barbour (Beauty and the Beast, Jane Eyre) and Joe Machota (Mamma Mia!) as Dorian. There are a number of musicals based on the Wilde story; a staging of Dorian Gray (unrelated the the NMTN script) played Denver Center for the Performing Arts in fall 2002 starring Urban Cowboy's Matt Cavenaugh.

The other shows in the NMTN New York season are City of Dreams by David and Joseph Zellnik (March 10) and Dora: Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria by Larry Bortniker (April 14).

Dorian Gray is re-set in the 1960s and recasts Dorian, who sells his soul to the devil for eternal youth, as a rock star whose adventures continue over the next 30 years. City of Dreams is billed this way: "[It] tells the passionate, dark love story of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary and his 16-year old mistress Mary Vetsera, culminating in their double suicide in 1889. It is also the intimate family drama of Rudolf and his parents — a progressive son's conflict with his reactionary father (long-reigning Emperor Franz Josef), a sensitive son's almost romantic relationship with his mother (half-mad, still beautiful, Empress Elizabeth). Set against this story, fittingly enough, is young Sigmund Freud — trying to analyze the royal family (in 1889 he is an increasingly unemployable doctor due to his "radical" ideas) — and young Gustav Klimt (in 1889 a realistic society portraitist.) Like their hero Rudolf, they feel young and unrecognized, kept down by Vienna's repressive status quo. And in the end, though Rudolf's death shocks them, it also pushes Freud towards his understanding of the competition inherent in all father and son relationships, and Klimt's growing belief of the interconnectedness between desire and death."

Dora is billed as "an adaptation of Sigmund Freud's famous case history of a 17-year-old girl with a hysterical cough. The play recreates Dora's psychoanalytic sessions with Freud. It is set primarily in his office in Vienna, from October through New Year's Eve, 1900. For the most part, Dora is on the couch, Freud is in his chair, and the remaining characters appear in her memory and fantasy. Dora's father finds her suicide note one night. She has threatened to kill herself unless he breaks off relations with his mistress, Frau K. He refuses; the girl faints. He brings her to Freud, against her will. Grudgingly, Dora begins her psychoanalysis. Dora tells Freud of her father's long-standing affair with Frau K and of Herr K's repeated sexual advances toward her. The K's had been long-time family friends until Herr K propositioned Dora during an outing at Capo di Lago a year earlier. Horrified, Dora told her father, who refused to believe her. She tells Freud that her father has always traded her off to Herr K so as to insure the continuation of his affair with Frau K. In detective-story style, Freud analyzes her relationships with her father, mother, Frau K and Herr K as he uncovers the cause of her various psychosomatic ailments. They explore, much to Dora's anxiety, her Oedipal conflicts, her sexual desire for Herr K, her homosexual love for Frau K, and the significance of a reoccurring dream."

NMTN has showcased such musicals as Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, After the Fair, Lizzie Borden, Shine! and Cupid & Psyche, which have gone on to get either published, recorded and/or produced.

The Lamb's Theatre is at 130 W. 44th Street. For reservations, call (212) 664-0979. For NMTN information, visit www.broadwayusa.org.