You won’t hear “Nessun Dorma,” but you’re likely to encounter just about everything else in Blue Light Theatre Company’s season opener, Princess Turandot, a farcical love story loosely based not only on Puccini’s famed opera but Busoni’s opera and Carlo Gozzi’s 1792 play. Darko Tresnjak, who staged last season’s Hotel Universe, has penned the new comedy and directs it as well. (And yes, it even includes two characters named Nessun and Dorma.)
A press release about the show from the Springer/Chicoine office promises “vaudeville, performance art and even techno-tribal music... gymnasts, puppeteers and two members of the Blue Man Group” (Wes Day and Pete Simpson) in this tale of a “captivating prince [who] meets a decapitating princess.” Production spokesperson Joe Trentacosta elaborated on the plot and style of the show: “It’s commedia del’ arte style, a lot of juggling and physical comedy, but the story is essentially the same, at least in the first act. The king wants his daughter married off, and she agrees, but her condition is that the person she marries has to answer three riddles — or else be beheaded. Twelve people are slaughtered, but one guy gets `em all right. She’s still not happy with him, so he gives her a riddle. If she can’t solve it, they get married. If she solves it, they don’t get married — and she can kill him.”
Performances began Nov. 28 at Off Broadway’s McGinn/Cazale Theatre, where Blue Light will stage all its shows this season. Opening night for Princess Turandot is Dec. 7 for a run scheduled roughly through the end of the year.
The large cast features Roxanne Hope (as the Princess), Jeff Binder, Wes Day, Crispin Freeman, Christopher K. Morgan, Ron Nahass, Aaron Michael Norris, Gregor Paslawsky, Carolyn Pasquantonio, Susan Pourfar, Josh Radnor, Maria Elena Ramirez, Mark Shunock, James Stanley and Andrew Weems (The Green Bird). Adorning Tresnjak’s Princess are David P. Gordon (set), Linda Cho (costumes), Christopher J. Landy (lighting) and Robert Murphy (sound), with Blue Man’s Pete Simpson providing “percussion, skulls and stake dance coordination.”
A Williamstown Theatre Festival and opera vet, Tresnjak’s other productions have included Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and The Skin of Our Teeth. He is slated to direct More Lies at Jerzy at the Vineyard Theatre in January. The Blue Light Theatre Company staged their previous season’s shows at the McGinn/Cazale (former home of Second Stage Theatre) and will likely stay put for this season and next.
After Turandot, Weissberger Theater Group is expected to come into the McGinn/Cazale with a production, with Blue Light returning with its second show of the season in the spring.
For tickets and information on Princess Turandot call (212) 206 1515.
- By David Lefkowitz
and Murdoch McBride