The 2002-2003 season for Playwrights Horizons, the respected Manhattan not-for-profit devoted to new works, will premiere two musicals, including a new Ricky Ian Gordon-Richard Nelson collaboration inspired by Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past."
The new show, which will inaugurate Playwrights Horizons new home at 416 W. 42nd Street in February 2003, is called My Life With Albertine. Nelson has turned literature into Tony Award gold in the past: For PH, he adapted James Joyce's short story, "The Dead," into an Irish folk-driven musical, James Joyce's The Dead. The Off-broadway show moved to the Belasco on Broadway in 2000 for a brief run and has popped up regionally since. Nelson won the Tony for Best Book for the show. Ricky Ian Gordon is the downtown writer known for Dream True and art songs for the recording "Bright Eyed Joy." The writers will share lyric credit, with Gordon penning music and lyrics and Nelson penning book and lyrics. The show is drawn from the "Albertine" sections of the Proust epic, and has an older Marcel narrating the story of his tempestuous love affair with his muse, the middle-class Albertine.
Part of the new season will be presented at PH's new two-venue space on 42nd Street. The building is currently under construction and will be ready to house shows in February 2003. The first two shows of the season, works by Keith Bunin and Christopher Shinn, will play The Duke on 42nd Street.
The other musical, Wilder, is by Jack Herrick and Mike Craver (of the Red Clay Ramblers) and Erin Cressida Wilson, and is aimed for the PH studio. It concerns an old man who returns to a brothel he knew in his younger days, and is directed by Lisa Portes. The show is based on the play Cross-Dressing in the Depression by Erin Cressida Wilson. Performances are in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, the new PH studio space, in April 2003. A second studio production will be announced.
Keith Bunin's The World Over (opening the PH season in the fall) and Christopher Shinn's What Didn't Happen are also on the season, as is the solo show by Doug Wright, I Am My Own Wife, about a real-life East German cross-dresser living through 20th-century political turmoil. Jefferson Mays stars in the show that has had developmental readings at the La Jolla Playhouse. Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency) directs. The target is May 2003. Michael Mayer will stage The World Over, a quirky epic adventure about a man who believes he's a prince and travels the world to claim his birthright, which begins previews Sept. 6. Bunin penned and Mayer staged PH's The Credeaux Canvas.
The premiere of 26-year-old Shinn's What Didn't Happen, about a young writer and his mentor, begins preview Nov. 15. Shinn is the young writer whose work has been embraced in London and who is getting attention this season for the Worth Street Theatre-Manhattan Theatre Club productions of Four, his spare view of yearning, contemporary Americans set on the Fourth of July.
For Playwrights Horizons subscription information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.com.
— By Kenneth Jones