Ragtime Team Planning Gertrude Stein Musical

News   Ragtime Team Planning Gertrude Stein Musical Composer Stephen Flaherty and director Frank Galati, who collaborated on the musical Ragtime, are developing a new musical based on the works of avant garde write Gertrude Stein.

Composer Stephen Flaherty and director Frank Galati, who collaborated on the musical Ragtime, are developing a new musical based on the works of avant garde write Gertrude Stein.

In an interview with "Radio Playbill," Flaherty said the working title of the piece is A Long Gay Book, based on the title of a projected but unfinished Stein work. A production is planned at Northwestern University in May 2003.

Flaherty said the word "gay" in the title is used in all its senses.

It will be Flaherty’s first project in many years without longtime lyricist Lynn Ahrens. Ahrens and Flaherty opened their latest musical, A Man of No Importance, at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in New York Oct. 10.

Galati will act as librettist as well as director, adapting the text from Stein's poetry, plays and other writings. Flaherty said his collaboration with Ahrens is alive and well. The pair will celebrate their 20th anniversary as a team with a special April 2, 2003, concert at Lincoln Center, hosted by Audra McDonald (Tony-winning star of their Ragtime), and featuring many of the stars who appeared in their shows over the years.

Ahrens and Flaherty had a reading of their next musical, Dessa Rose, in New York in June, featuring Donna Murphy and La Chanze, and are planning a full-scale workshop at Lincoln Center in spring or summer 2003, making for a busy year coming for both of them.

The complete interview with Flaherty – who plays songs from new and old projects — will be broadcast several times Nov. 19-24 as part of the "Radio Playbill" magazine show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

—Robert Viagas