The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Symphonic Metal Version) will reconceive Rupert Holmes' 1986 Tony-winning Best Musical, based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same title. Structured as a murder mystery, the novel was left unfinished at the author's death, the identity of the murderer never revealed. Holmes used that fact to build a show in which the audience votes on how it will end each night. Holmes wrote multiple endings for the actors to play, depending on who is voted murderer on a given performance. Holmes wrote music, lyrics and book for the show.
Holmes was quoted as saying "I'm both intrigued and excited about Edwin Drood testing its mettle and metal with this inventive new theater company. And as the one person on Earth who may have actually typed the name 'Landless' more often than the Landless Theatre Company–-since a brother and sister in my musical also happen to have that name–-I am more than curious to hear the well-tempered Drood tempered like steel by this dynamic new theatrical force, artfully welded by Melissa Baughman. I’m sure that sparks will fly."
Dates have not been set for the 2016 workshop.
* The new project builds on the success of Landless Theatre Company's production of Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Prog Metal Version, which was also directed by Baughman, who earned a Helen Hayes Award nomination for her work. It was the first ever rock orchestration of Stephen Sondheim's acclaimed musical.
Performances for Sweeney will run July 9-Aug. 2 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. A "sneak peek" of Drood reportedly will be offered at performances of Sweeney.
Written by a team of arrangers known as The Fleet Street Collective, Sweeney Todd - Prog Metal Version premiered in August 2014 as part of Landless Theatre's "Summer of Rock." The show was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical.
The seven members of The Fleet Street Collective are DC-based metal musicians Lance LaRue, Ray Shaw and Alex Vallejo; Philadelphia-based world musician Spencer Blevins; UK composer and recent NYU musical theatre writing program graduate Andrew Siddle; LTC’s artistic director Andrew L. Baughman; and Charles W. Johnson, who serves as music supervisor and music director for the production.
"Our goal is to take Mr. Sondheim’s work and simply inject it into the prog-metal idiom," said LaRue in an earlier statement. "We’ve managed to preserve nearly every lyric and melody as originally written while 'progging' the orchestration. Sondheim fanatics will find it extremely familiar while the Prog-heads will feel right at home with the chunky 7-string guitar, double-kick drums and extended-range bass lines."
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit atlasarts.org.