Philadelphia's Prince Music Theatre, formerly the American Music Theatre Festival, continues its tradition of producing new American musicals with 1999-2000's Running Man, The Snow Queen, the world premiere of The Hidden Sky and the opera Dennis Cleveland, as well as playing host to performances by Bruce Adler, Patti LuPone and James Naughton.
The season starts off with a presentation of the Godfrey Reggio 1983 film, "Koyaanisqatsi," Sept. 22-26. The much lauded film, named for the Hopi Indian word for "life out of balance," will have its original score played by its composer, Philip Glass, and his 16 piece ensemble.
Sept. 29-Oct. 10, Bruce Adler, a Tony Award nominee for Crazy for You, celebrates the great song-and-dance men Danny Kaye, Al Jolson, Sammy Davis, Jr and Frank Sinatra in his Song & Dance Man. Accompanying Adler will be musical director Zalmen Mlotek and a six piece Klezmer band.
The Pulitzer Prize-nominated jazz musical, Running Man will run Oct. 22-Nov. 7. The story of a young African American summoned by his family with song after a seven years absence, Running Man has a story and music by Diedre Murray with text by poet Cornelius Eady. Diane Paulus directs.
For the holiday season, Prince Music Theatre will be home to The Snow Queen, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fable of a young girl who sets out to rescue her best friend from the Snow Queen, a loveless woman whose heart is frozen. Tony nominee Patricia Birch (Parade) directs this new musical with book and lyrics by Adrian Mitchell and music by Richard Peaslee. Broadway diva Patti LuPone will sing in concert Feb. 2-14, 2000. Scott Wittman conceived and directs this evening of Broadway and standard tunes from the Tony Award winning actress who starred in Evita, Sunset Boulevard and Anything Goes.
The Hidden Sky, a world premiere musical based on a short story by science fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin, follows an intelligent young woman in her quest for knowledge in a repressive society. Music and lyrics are by Peter Foley with a book by Kate Chisholm. Prince Music Theatre artistic director Ben Levit directs the piece, running Feb. 29 March 19.
April 14-30, Dennis Cleveland, the techno-rock multimedia opera, examines the modern mass-media culture on the set of the Dennis Cleveland talk show. The music and libretto is by Mikel Rouse.
Two-time Tony winner James Naughton (Chicago, City of Angels) performs his one-man show, Street of Dreams, May 10-21. Originally produced at New York City's Promenade Theatre by Mike Nichols, Naughton sings a variety of songs from pop to show tunes, from country to ballads, peppering the tunes with stories from his career. Naughton directs with musical direction by John Oddo.
For subscription and ticket information, call the UpStages Ticket Office at (215) 569-9700.
-- By Christine Ehren