Brent Carver, the Tony Award-winning star of the serious-minded Broadway musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Parade, will play the title character in a Canadian workshop of new musical, Larry's Party, based on the novel by Carol Shields.
Book and lyrics are by Richard Ouzounian, with a score by Marek Norman, who both collaborated on the Stratford Festival's popular 1999 staging of the musical, Dracula. They also wrote the hit musical adaptation of "Emily of New Moon," called Emily, staged in 1999 at the Charlottetown Theatre Festival on Prince Edward Island.
Canadian Stage commissioned the Nov. 15-25 workshop and reading of Larry's Party. Ouzounian will direct. Carver plays a 50-year-old designer of garden mazes who looks back on his past 25 years and throws a party for the people in his life.
"The show is ruefully humourous in tone, with some of Ms. Shields' own particular blackish (or at least dark grey) comedy being preserved," Ouzounian told Playbill On-Line."The songs span styles ranging from The Beatles and Billy Joel to James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks."
Songs include "Nickles and Dimes," "Look at the Sky," "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" and "Little Lost Lives." Readers of the book will recognize other song titles that stem directly from lines in the book, like "Maker of Mazes," "Happy Enough" and "Larry's Penis." The private workshop cast includes Barbara Barsky, Elizabeth Beeler, Benedict Campbell, David Keeley, Monique Lund, Judy Marshak, Mike Nadajewski and Paula Wolfson.
What's ahead for Carver? There is talk he may be part of the 2000 season at his former artistic home, the Stratford Festival.
-- By Kenneth Jones