The musical exploration of the Roman emperor with a flair for the theatrical casts Taboo's Jeffrey Carlson in the title role with Spring Awakening veteran Lea Michele as Nero's mute wife and step-sister Octavia, and Tony-Award winning actress Idina Menzel as his lover, Poppea. Performances continue through July 13. Nero's cast of Broadway veterans also includes Laila Robbins (Heartbreak House) as Nero's mother Agrippina, Michael Arden (The Times They Are A-Changin') as Nero's step-brother Britannicus, David Patrick Kelly (Festen) as Nero's advisor Seneca and Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures) as Praetorian Guard member Tigellinus.
Daniel Kramer (Bent) again stages the chamber musical that he previously helmed for a reading at the Public Theater in 2007. Tony-winning Spring Awakening composer Sheik supplies the score to the new musical that features book and lyrics by his Tony-winning collaborator Sater.
Sater has turned to historical accounts of the Roman leader to inform the script for what he calls a chamber musical composed of 19 songs incorporated into dramatic verse scenes. Nero "is not a rock musical," Sater previously explained to Playbill.com. The piece will be backed by percussion, harp, violin and keyboard.
Following the Powerhouse staging, Nero will likely see a fully staged workshop in spring 2009, according to Sater.
Tickets for the Powerhouse staging of Nero are currently available by visiting powerhouse.vassar.edu or by calling (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599.