Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia announced to 2002-2003 season, which begins with the world premiere revue, It's Better With a Band, featuring the lyrics of David Zippel.
The Tony and Oscar-winning lyricist of City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl and "Hercules" gets wider representation in the sophisticated new show, directed by Joe Leonardo. The composers represented include Cy Coleman, Marvin Hamlisch, Wally Harper, Doug Katsaros, Rob LaRocca, Alan Menken, David Pomeranz, Jimmy Roberts, Jonathan Sheffer and Byron Sommers. Performances play Sept. 18 29.
The season of works at the organization formerly known as American Music Theater Festival, now named in honor of producer-director Harold Prince, includes:A revival of Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, in celebration of the centennial year of Richard Rodgers' birth, Nov. 2-17.
The American premiere of a new musical version of Peter Pan, with songs by Honk! writers George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics). The book, based JM Barrie's classic, is by Willis Hall. Prince's new associate artistic director, Ted Sperling, directs, Dec. 11-29.The world premiere of The Green Violin, by Elise Thoron (Charlotte: Life? or Theater?), directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman, April 26-May 18, 2003. "Set to an exuberant new Klezmer score, Green Violin brings to the stage the astonishing story of the Soviet Yiddish Theater and painter Marc Chagall," according to the announcement on the Prince Music Theater website. "For a brief dazzling period amid the turbulence of post-revolutionary Russia, Stalin allowed this bold Yiddish Theater, led by the charismatic and brilliant actor Solomon Mikhoels, to flourish. The company toured the Soviet Union in the '20s and '30s with productions ranging from the Yiddish King Lear to Sholem Aleichem's Tevye the Milkman. As a young man, Marc Chagall painted scenic murals, and Mikhoels made these now famed artworks move, sing, and dance on stage. As Chagall travels through the mural and the terrain of his own memory, he unravels how his profound personal and artistic partnership with Mikhoels produced both extraordinary beauty and terrible heartbreak."
Pittsburgh-based performance art troupe Squonk Opera presents two shows: Inferno, inspired by the plight of Centralia, PA, where coal fires burn; and BigSmorgasbord WunderWerk, a feast of traditional and non-traditional musical instruments, puppetry, food preparation and more). Billed as "indescribable fun for the whole family," it plays June 6-29, 2003. For more information, visit the website at princemusictheater.org.
— By Kenneth Jones