Noir Musical Comedy Adrift in Macao Opens Off-Broadway Feb. 13

News   Noir Musical Comedy Adrift in Macao Opens Off-Broadway Feb. 13 Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick's musical Adrift in Macao makes its New York premiere Off-Broadway Feb. 13 at Primary Stages.
Orville Mendoza and Michele Ragusa in Adrift in Macao at Primary Stages.
Orville Mendoza and Michele Ragusa in Adrift in Macao at Primary Stages. Photo by James Leynse

Sheryl Kaller (Jayson with a Y) directs and Christopher Gattelli (Altar Boyz, Bat Boy) choreographs the work that began previews Jan. 23 for a limited engagement through March 4 at 59E59 Theaters. Musical direction is by Fred Lassen (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

Featuring a book and lyrics by Durang set to Melnick's music, the film-noir musical parody is set in a world that spans "from the opium dens of China to the lowlife bars of New York [where] the leading lady can always get a job singing in nightclubs no matter how she sings, and the leading man is always mysterious and can't go home for murky reasons he won't explain."

The ensemble of seven features Sunset Boulevard's Tony Award-nominated Alan Campbell (Contact), Will Swenson (Brooklyn, Lestat) and the Barrymore Award-winning cast of Macao at the Philadelphia Theatre Company: Rachel deBenedet (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nine), Orville Mendoza (Pacific Overtures) and Michele Ragusa (Urinetown, The Audience). They are joined by Jonathan Rayson (A Year with Frog and Toad, Little Shop of Horrors) and Elisa Van Duyne (Beauty and the Beast, 42nd Street).

"Films noirs make people think of evil femme fatales like Barbara Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity' and brings to mind violence and gangsters. Adrift in Macao doesn't focus on the crime aspects of films noirs, but more on the ambience — the smoky nightclubs, the alluring women and the mysterious men with shady pasts," said Durang of the work.

Durang is well known as the playwright of such works as The Actor's Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Beyond Therapy, Baby with the Bathwater, Betty’s Summer Vacation, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Laughing Wild, A History of the American Film and the more recent Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge and Miss Witherspoon. Macao marks the New York premiere for composer Melnick. Currently at work with librettist Bill Russell on The Last Smoker in America, the grandson of Richard Rodgers has also composed Chinese Cabaret and Twyla Tharp's Sextet as well as film and television scores for "L.A. Story," "Convicts," "Indictment: The McMartin Trial" (HBO), "Lily Dale" (Showtime) and numerous PBS documentaries.

The design team features Thomas Lynch (sets), Willa Kim (costumes), Jeff Croiter (lighting) and Peter J. Fitzgerald (sound). Michael Starobin provides orchestrations, and Emily N. Wells serves as production stage manager.

Primary Stages will close its current season with the New York premiere of Athol Fugard's semi-autobiographical Exits and Entrances starring Morlan Higgins and William Dennis Hurley under the direction of Stephen Sachs (March 20-April 28).

Tickets to Adrift in Macao at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues), may be purchased by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information about Primary Stages, visit the website at www.primarystages.com.

Rachel de Benedet, Alan Campbell and Michelle Ragusa in the new musical <i>Adrift in Macao</i> with book &amp; lyrics by Christopher Durang and music by Peter Melnick presented by Primary Stages.
Rachel de Benedet, Alan Campbell and Michelle Ragusa in the new musical Adrift in Macao with book & lyrics by Christopher Durang and music by Peter Melnick presented by Primary Stages. Photo by James Leynse