Polly Pen's New Musical, Embarrassments, Gets Premiere in Philly Nov. 26

News   Polly Pen's New Musical, Embarrassments, Gets Premiere in Philly Nov. 26 The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia will premiere its commission of Polly Pen's new musical, Embarrassments, with book and lyrics by Laurence Klavan and music and lyrics by Pen, in fall 2003.

The resident not-for-profit presents the new work, set in 1895 and focusing on writer and lover Henry James, Nov. 26, 2003-Jan. 5, 2004.

Blanka Zizka directs. According to the Wilma's website, wilmatheater.org, "The creators of the delightful Wilma smash hit Bed and Sofa take a spirited musical look into the mind of a Victorian genius. The date: January 5, 1895. The place: the St. James Theater in London's West End. Tonight, the brilliant novelist Henry James hopes to change his life with the opening of his new venture: a play, into which he has poured his vulnerable heart. Meanwhile, deep in his imagination, a parallel story unfolds: the revealing tale of a playwright struggling with conflicted loyalties to art, love and life. With comic invention, haunting music and increasing speed, these two stories, one real and one imaginary, drive toward their very different confrontations with destiny. The Wilma proudly presents an artistic landmark: this will be the first of our commissioned works to premiere on the Wilma stage."

Pen penned The Night Governess, inspired by a story by Louisa May Alcott, seen at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey. Other works include Goblin Market and Christina Alberta's Father.

Also on the 2003-04 season for Wilma are Charles L. Mee's Wintertime, directed by Jiri Zizka, March 12-April 8, 2004; Stephen Adly Guirgus' Jesus Hopped the A Train, directed by Blanka Zizka, May 19-June 27, 2004; and a play to be announced to open the season, Sept. 17-Oct. 26. Under consideration are Moliere, a play by Sabina Berman, translated from the Spanish by Shelley Tepperman; Las Meninas by Lynn Nottage; The Mauve LeClaire by Billy Aronson, inspired by An Italian Straw Hat by Eugene Labiche and Marc-Michel.

For information, call (215) 546-7824. *

The Wilma's next offering is Chay Yew's Red, directed by Blanka Zizka, about an Asian American novelist who goes home to Shanghai and encounters remnants of her past, May 21-June 22.