The Game's Afoot in World Premiere of Dangerous-Liaisons Musical

News   The Game's Afoot in World Premiere of Dangerous-Liaisons Musical Sara Ramirez and Chris Innvar headline Barrington Stage Company's world premiere, The Game, the new musical based on the sex-and-revenge classic, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," Aug. 7-23.
Sara Ramirez as Marquise de Merteuil from The Game.
Sara Ramirez as Marquise de Merteuil from The Game. (Photo by Joe Schuyler)

Ramirez, seen in Broadway's A Class Act and Capeman, will play scheming Madame Merteuil, and Innvar, a veteran of New York's A New Brain and Floyd Collins, will be venal Vicomte de Valmont, characters seen in recent years in film and stage versions of the scandalous 18th-century novel by Cholderos de Laclos.

BSC presents at the Consolati Performing Arts Center in Sheffield, MA. Artistic director Julianne Boyd stages the world premiere, which has book and lyrics by Amy Powers and David Topchik, and music by Megan Cavallari.

The cast also includes Heather Ayers as Mme. de Tourvel, Cristin Boyle as Cecile, Joy Franz as Madame de Rosemonde, Griffin Gardner as Volange, Greg Mills as Danceny, with Jason Watkins, Jesse Sullivan, Chrysten Peddie, Kelly Ellen Miller and Lee Rosen.

The Game is a new musical version of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," the durable, nasty tale of sexual power and revenge. The show is inspired by the Cholderos de Laclos novel of aristocratic sexual games in 18th-century France.

BSC workshopped the project in the summer of 2001 and then again in May 2002. Here's how BSC bills the show: "The Game, set in the decade before the French Revolution, is a fascinating study of a dissolute aristocracy about to perish. The notorious story centers around the charming but vicious Madame Merteuil who plots revenge against a lover who has jilted her. She enlists another former lover, Vicomte deValmont, to seduce a young woman who is betrothed to Merteuil's target of revenge. The Machiavellian machinations of the 18th century aristocracy wreck havoc on all concerned, foretelling the demise of the ruling class."

"Les Liaisons Dangereuses" caused a scandal when it was published in 1782; for many years, even after attempts to ban and destroy it, it remained one of the most sexually explicit books ever circulated, until the 20th century. Several film versions were made, including "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Valmont."

Christopher Hampton penned a popular stage version, using the book's French title, that played London (a Royal Shakespeare Company production) and Broadway (and later regional theatres). It was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 1987. Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman (later partners in Private Lives in the West End and Broadway) were also Tony nommed for their leading performances. Howard Davies directed.

Co-lyricist/librettist Topchik is the general manager of Theatreworks USA in New York City and formerly of Playwrights Horizons and Atlantic Theater Company. In addition to The Game, he has written several non musicals, including Natalie Wood is Dead and The Pragmatic Errors of John Case.

Co-librettist/lyricist Amy Powers has written lyrics for Tony- and Oscar-winning shows and films, as well as for multi-platinum pop and country artists. She achieved international renown through her collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber on "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "With One Look" from Sunset Boulevard. Her newest song, "Bring on the Day," performed by Charlotte Martin, is the opening song for Disney's movie, "Sweet Home Alabama," starring Reese Witherspoon. Powers also co-wrote Lizzie Borden, the musical.

Composer Cavallari has created music for theatre, television and film, including pieces for Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Geffen, HBO and Showtime. Her musicals have been produced at Theatre Under The Stars, The Ordway, The Mark Taper Forum, The Lambs Theater, 5th Avenue Playhouse, The Living Arts Center and the York Theatre.

For information about Barrington Stage Company, now in its ninth season, call (413) 528-8888 or visit www.barringtonstageco.org.

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American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco will present the world premiere of a new non-musical adaptation of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," adapted and directed by Giles Havergal (Travels With My Aunt), Sept. 11-Oct. 12 at The Geary Theatre.

Christopher Innvar as Valmont and Heather Ayers as Madame de Tourvel from <i>The Game</i>.
Christopher Innvar as Valmont and Heather Ayers as Madame de Tourvel from The Game. (Photo by Joe Schuyler)