The cast of the new musical, A Man of No Importance, heads into the recording studio Dec. 16 to create the cast album for the Off-Broadway production.
Composer Stephen Flaherty told Playbill On-Line the disc is expected to be released by Jay Records around March 2003. Producing the record are John Yap, Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Ahrens and Flaherty wrote the score of the Dublin-set show and Terrence McNally penned the book, which is based on the film of the same name. The Lincoln Center Theater production, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, is directed by Joe Mantello and continue performances to Dec. 29.
"As with all of our CDs, the album will feature most of the score," Flaherty told Playbill On-Line. "Small edits (mostly underscore under scenes) have been made to make the recording more fluid."
The disc "will feature the original theatre orchestrations by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, with an additional percussionist."
Jay Records previously released the London cast album of Ahrens and Flaherty's Once on this Island. *
Man began previews Sept. 12, working toward an opening Oct. 10. Roger Rees and Faith Prince lead the cast. They are supported by Ronn Carroll, Luther Creek, Michael McCormick, Jessica Molaskey, Martin Moran, Sally Murphy, Charles Keating, Barbara Marineau, Sean McCourt, Katherine McGrath, Patti Perkins and Steven Pasquale.
The source movie, set in 1963 Dublin, starred Albert Finney as Alfie Byrne (Rees), a closeted gay bus conductor with a passion for Oscar Wilde. In middle-age, he still lives with his sister (Prince), who is waiting for him to marry before she says "I do" to her beau (per propriety). The film concerns Alfie's torn passion for two people and his coming to terms with his true nature as he directs an amateur church staging of Wilde's Salome.
The title is a play on the Wilde work A Woman of No Importance. The Flaherty score is kissed with an Irish flavor, offering a period pop sound ("The Streets of Dublin"), songs worthy of an Irish tenor ("The Cuddles Mary Gave") and humane ballads ("Love Who You Love," "Princess"), to say nothing of a jaunty signature show tune, "Going Up," a reference to putting on shows.
A Man of No Importance has musical staging by Jonathan Butterell, musical direction by Ted Sperling (recently named associate artistic director of Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia), sets by Loy Arcenas, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Scott Lehrer.
The show received a reading at Lincoln Center Theater in March 2001. Director Mantello was busy in 2002: He also staged Take Me Out and Frankie and Johnny...
The work of Tony Award-winning Ahrens and Flaherty is preserved on cast albums of Lucky Stiff, Once on this Island, My Favorite Year, Ragtime and Seussical, as well as the soundtrack of the animated film, "Anastasia."
A&F's next project is based on the novel, "Dessa Rose," about a slave who is helped to freedom by a woman who, in the process, achieves a kind of freedom herself. A 2002 reading was held with La Chanze and Donna Murphy as the leads. A 2003 workshop by Lincoln Center is planned.