Jewish Repertory Theatre has a world premiere Mark Twain inspired musical comedy, A Naughty Knight, which began previews May 20 at The Duke on 42nd Street.
William Martin will direct his own libretto of the new musical comedy drawn from Twain's "A Medieval Romance," with music and lyrics by Chuck Strand (who was Tony Award-nominated for his score to The Lieutenant in 1975). The idea for the show was conceived by Strand in 1977. He contacted playwright-director Martin to collaborate and, over the years, the show has seen readings, workshops and revisions, leading to the JRT world premiere. Official opening is June 3.
Steven F. Silverstein is musical director, Dennis Dennehy will choreograph.
The eight-actor musical farce concerns Lady Constance, a young girl of royal blood living in exile with her father, Gerber. When she learns that his brother, King Berger of Nottingnumb, is dying, she dresses up as a knight and returns to the kingdom to reclaim the throne. She unexpectedly falls in love with the king's servant, Jervis, but she cannot reveal her love because of an old law that says crossdressers be executed. Meanwhile, Lady Esther, the man-hungry daughter of the king, falls in love with this new knight in town.
The cast includes John Michael Coppola, Christopher J. Hanke, Mark Manley, Paul Romero, Kurt Domoney, Rebecca Kupka, Rebecca Rich and Gordon Joseph Weiss. Designers are Frank. J. Boros (set and costume), Jason Kankel (lighting) and Randy Hansen (sound).
Tickets are $40-$45. The Duke is at 229 W. 42nd Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues. For information, call (212) 239-6200 or visit the website at www.jrt.org.
In its casting notice earlier this spring, the show was called A Naughty Knight in Nutty Nottingnumb. Other royal kingdom musicals that have played Broadway include A Change in the Heir, Once Upon a Mattress and Triumph of Love.
— By Kenneth Jones