After a June 17 reading starring Billy Zane ("Titanic") and Grace Jones ("Conan the Destroyer"), San Diego Rep has included Celebration of the Lizard, in their 1999-2000 season. A musical themed around the poetry of Jim Morrison and featuring music by one of rock and roll's classic bands, The Doors, the show will open May 28, 2000.
A production spokesman told PBOL (June 14) the musical will feature the text Morrison wrote, adapted for the stage by the producer, Joel Lipman. Contrary to earlier reports, the musical will not only feature the music and poetry from the Doors tone-poem of the same name, but will be a collection of greatest hits by the band. Songs will include: "Light My Fire," "Riders on the Storm," "People Are Strange," "Touch Me," "Break on Through" and "Hello, I Love You".
According to San Diego Rep, "Celebration of the Lizard takes place in a not-too-distant future among ravaged city streets and a tribe infested desert. The desert has become a refuge for the hopeful as well as the ruthless. The mood is one of mystery and magic and can change in an instant by the wave of a hand, an explosion or...music."
It has yet to be confirmed whether Zane and/or Jones will star in the production, although San Diego Rep artistic director Sam Woodhouse (It Ain't Nothing But the Blues) is attached to helm. O-Lan Jones, the former wife of playwright Sam Shepard, will be in charge of arrangements and musical director.
The June 17 reading of Lizard had the three surviving Doors members -- Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore -- serving as creative consultants. Morrison died in 1971, after a hard night of drinking and drugs. Lizard would not be the first link between Morrison and legit theatre; Morrison designed several sets for stage productions (including one for Fiddler on the Roof) while a student at Florida State University. Morrison was also rumored to be so affected by a production of The Living Theatre's Paradise Now, he exposed his genitals during a concert -- and subsequently underwent a highly publicized arrest. Morrison often performed the "Celebration" tone poem as part of his live concerts and recorded a sections of it on The Doors' "Waiting for the Sun" album. The piece contains the famed Morrison phrase, "I am the Lizard King, I can do anything."
The rest of San Diego Rep's season includes:
Bandido! (The American Melodrama of Tiburcio Vasquez, Notorious California Bandit), the latest work by Zoot Suit creator, Luis Valdez. With Bandido, Valdez produces his take on the legendary California frontier with Latino and American music inspired by music of the CA's "gold rush" days. Valdez will also the direct the piece, scheduled to open Sept. 24.
The Tony Kushner adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Illusion will play at San Diego Rep beginning Nov. 5. The Illusion tells of a famous magician, Alcandre, who dares to reunite a rigid father with his reckless, love-smitten, prodigal son. Todd Salovey will direct.
A perennial favorite at The Rep (and just about every other regional theatre), A Christmas Carol will open at The Rep on Dec. 3, with previews beginning Thanksgiving weekend. Carol will feature music by Celtic band SilverWood, an adaptation by D.W. Jacobs and direction by Sean Murray.
The West Coast premiere of the musical SLAM, will come to The Rep as part of a national tour. Thomas W. Jones II, co-artistic director of Atlanta's Jomandi Productions, wrote and directed the piece about seven artists whose lives are spinning in and out of control. SLAM premieres Feb. 4.
The season will also include, R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE, [sic] adapted and directed by D.W. Jacobs from the life and works of R. Buckminster Fuller. Opening March 31, the solo performance -- starring Ron Campbell -- tells of Fuller, described as an engineer, poet, mathematician, architect, inventor and philosopher who was kicked out of Harvard twice.
For tickets or more information on the San Diego Rep season, call (619) 544-1000.
-- By Sean McGrath