The new Susan Stroman-Harry Connick, Jr., musical Thou Shalt Not, which opened Oct. 25, will end its limited run as scheduled, on Jan. 6, at Broadway's Plymouth Theatre. After delaying its first preview a week following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the new Lincoln Center Theater musical Thou Shalt Not started performances Sept. 27 (the original start date was Sept. 20.)
This musical adaptation of Emile Zola's gritty tale of murderous adultery stars Kate Levering in the role of Therese Raquin (the name of the original novel), Craig Bierko her lover Laurent and Norbert Butz as her husband Camille. Debra Monk and Leo Burmester are also in the cast.
The show did not have the luck of Stroman's last Lincoln Center project, Contact, which is still playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. The dark Thou Shalt Not — a marked departure for Stroman, who usually works in the bright showbizzy world of The Music Man and The Producers — opened to largely negative reviews. The best notices were saved for supporting player Butz's performance.
Bierko was forced to bow out of the show for several performances following opening night, as he ruptured one of his vocal cords when he was accidentally hit in the larynx during a fight scene. He returned to the show on Nov. 13.
Levering and Bierko co-starred as distinctly sunnier characters in the Stroman-directed The Music Man, which had Levering as Zaneeta Shinn, and Bierko as Prof. Harold Hill. Levering then went on to become the budding starlet Peggy Sawyer in the Broadway revival of 42nd Street, winning a Tony nomination for her tireless tapping. Butz was recently seen Off-Broadway as Amy Ryan's baby-stoning boyfriend in Edward Bond's Saved. More recently, he was in Jason Robert Brown's new musical, The Last Five Years at the North Light Theatre in Chicago (and soon due Off-Broadway). He is also known for a stint as the emcee in Cabaret.
The book is written by Tommy Thompson. Stroman will direct and choreograph.
First published serially under the title "Un Mariage d'Amour," Zola's harrowing tale of passion, hatred and the ultimate destruction that can come of lust was later published in 1867 as a novel. In "Therese Raquin," a sensual wife and her lover murder the woman's husband and remarry, only to be haunted by the victim's ghost.
Zola was a preeminent French novelist of the later 19th century who aimed, as part of the naturalist movement, to present real life by depicted the lives of poor, betrodden working class people. He also had a hand in the changing face of the theatre at the time, influencing Paris' famous Theatre Libre, where many naturalistic works had their premiere.
Zola wrote many plays himself (including his own adaptation of Terese Raquin), but found more success with his books. Today, he is perhaps best known for his role in the Dreyfus Affair, which divided France over the subject of the country's anti-semitism. Zola, who was rabidly pro Dreyfus, railed against the prejudiced military establishment with his famous article, "J-Accuse."