On the Long Wharf's mainstage, it will be springtime for pop star Duncan Sheik and one long polish joke for comic scribe David Ives. The New Haven, Connecticut company will stage both Duncan Sheik-Steven Sater's rock musical Spring Awakening and Ives' fresh Polish Joke, as well as Marivaux's Triumph of Love, in the 2002-03 season. Dates for the productions have not yet been set.
Spring Awakening is a musical retelling of Wedekind's expressionist work about teenagers, tyrannical parents, sex and violence. Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Side Man) will direct at the Long Wharf, then repeating his duties Off-Broadway when the show makes its expected transfer to the Roundabout Theatre's new 46th Street theatre space in spring 2003.
"It's dark," Mayer told Playbill On-Line Feb 6. "It's Wedekind. It's a very literal adaptation about those three kids, and coming of age sexually. It's like a cautionary tale about what happens to your kids if you don't talk to them about sex. The music is very haunting. It's pop. It's not sung-through. It jumps between Germany in the 19th century and the United States now, it's really stylistic."
Spring Awakening has over 20 songs, performed live by a rock 'n' roll band. lyrics and libretto are by Steven Sater with music by pop star Sheik ("Barely Breathing"), and was developed at the Sundance Theatre in Utah. It also received a workshop at the Roundabout Theatre Company in late 2000.
Young Jaisu Sadlowski, the hero of Ives' Polish Joke is desperate to escape the ancestry that leaves him the butt of ethnic heritage's cruellest jokes. He changes his name and moves away from home, but he still discovers that you can never run away from who you really are. Polish Joke premiered in the summer of 2001 at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre. John Rando directs. He has helmed past Ives works including Mere Mortals Off-Broadway, All in the Timing and the world premiere of Lives of the Saints . Rando is currently represented on Broadway with Urinetown.
Stephen Wadsworth adaptation of Triumph of Love joins the previously announced season, which includes Jane Alexander in a trimmed-down version of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, directed by Gordon Edelstein (fall, 2002) and a new double-bill by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies entitled Two Days, to be directed by Lisa Peterson.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones