The troupe will present the piece March 4 and 5 as a benefit and sneak preview. Myler will direct Margaret Bowman in the presentation. MET is expected to fully stage the show this coming fall.
MET is billing Fire—which Myler co-wrote with Dan Wheetman—as the second installment of a "American Roots Music Trilogy" which began with Hank Williams. The third part will focus on the acoustic country blues of the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s.
Fire on the Mountain is described as "an unusual blend of musical theatre and oral history. Drawn from field interviews with coal miners from West Virginia and Kentucky, the play's text is intertwined with some of the greatest traditional music and union songs to come out of America in the 20th century. Actors and musicians share the spotlight."
Myler has lavished his archeological talents on many other musicians and musical genres in the past, from the blues traditions of It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, to the subjects of Love, Janis (Janis Joplin), Almost Heaven: Songs and Stories of John Denver, Dream a Little Dream (The Mama and the Papas) and the upcoming Nat King Cole & Me: A Musical Healing.
The rest of the 2004-05 MET season will be announced in the coming weeks. The company's Golda's Balcony is currently playing on Broadway. The benefit performances of Fire on the Mountain will take place at MET, 55 Mercer St. (@ Broome) in SoHo. All proceeds will benefit Manhattan Ensemble Theater. Tickets are $100, and are available on a first-come basis, by calling (212) 925-1900.