1998 has been quite a year for Zorro.
At the cinema, The Mask of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, so far grossed $91.4 million in the US with an overseas earning of $45.7 million. In legit theatre, Houston's Theater Under the Stars staged a musical version of the Zorro tale Aug. 13-30. With Richard White (Yeston's Phantom) as the masked bandit, Zorro The Musical featured original music by Randy Rogel, lyrics by Rogel and Jim Bernhard, book by Bernard and Frank Young and musical themes borrowed from Bizet, Puccini, Romberg, Schubert, and others.
Now a second musical, Z. The Masked Musical, will vie for some of the public's interest in the legendary crusader for justice. Dec. 15, the concept recording with book, music and lyrics by Robert Cabell will be released.
Cabell also wrote the music, book and lyrics to Off-B'way shows, Pretty Faces (1990) and Two Hearts Over Easy (1994) and has performed concert renditions of his musicals Dragon Myth and Saccharine at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. As a journalist, Cabell helped found Shout Magazine, serving as its theatre editor as well as publishing freelance pieces in both Spanish and English.
The concept recording of Cabell's Z. features Ruben Gomez and Roberto Blades sharing the role of Diego, the young man who falls in love with the beautiful Carlotta, sung by Deborah Gibson. Around them, the world of revolution-torn California is oppressed by the Governor (Jeff McCarthy and, on one track, Rob Evan) and his henchmen, the Captain (Marc Kudisch) and the Sergeant (Tito Enriquez). Diego finds he must rise up as Zorro and lead his people to freedom. Also on the recording are Christiane Noll (Maria), Kaye Ballard, Lynn Halverson, Phyllis Newman, Barbara Nayhas, Michael DeVries, Joanie Winter, Jeffrey DeRocker, Trish Geiger, Parker Scott and a bundle of Bowen children (a family of child actors who have appeared on Broadway in The Sound of Music, The King And I and Les Miserables, among others): Alec, Andrea, Cameron and Jillian.
The CD's selections follow:
"Tears of Sorrow" -- Marc Kudisch and Company
"What Makes a Hero" -- Deborah Gibson and Company
"Glorious Gluttonous Greed" -- Jeff McCarthy
"Ivory Tower" -- Roberto Blades and Company
"Zorro Rides" -- Michael DeVries, Tito Enriquez, Lynn Halverson, Marc Kudisch, Jeff McCarthy and Company
"Sweet Siesta" -- Lynn Halverson, Jodie , Barbara Nayhas and Joanie Winter
"Just Close Your Eyes" -- Ruben Gomez and Deborah Gibson
"Dance of Love" -- Kaye Ballard, Lynn Halverson and Phyllis Newman
"His Face" -- Deborah Gibson
"Play the Fool" -- Roberto Blades
"Fiesta Amor" -- Christiane Noll
"Everything but Love" -- Deborah Gibson
"Deep in the Night" -- Roberto Blades, Dan Conroy, David Marcus and Randall Stephens-Weiss
"Twists & Turns" -- Dan Conroy, Ulysses Borgia, Gabriel Ariza and Guillermo Ariza
"Devil on My Back" -- Rob Evan, Tito Enriquez and Marc Kudisch
"Now That I Have You" -- Roberto Blades and Deborah Gibson
"Wedding Finale" -- Sean McDermott, Ruben Gomez, Deborah Gibson and Company
"We Do What We Must Do" -- Ruben Gomez
Also included are two bonus tracks of "What Makes a Hero", sung by Sasandra Lewis, and "Now That I Have You" sung by Lewis and Keith Fluitt.
Z. The Masked Musical, on the Get Z'd Productions label, can be purchased in New York through Footlight Records (on the web at www.footlight.com) or through Colony Records. Original Cast Records will carry the CD to the rest of the United States. In January 1999, the recording will also be made available internationally at Dress Circle in London and in Australia.
As for Z.'s stage future, spokesman James Marino told Playbill On Line a workshop is hoped for the winter/spring of 1999 with a regional production to follow. For more information on Z., visit the website at www.zmusical.com.
-- By Christine Ehren