Time After Time, Musical Thriller With H.G. Wells as Hero, Gets NYC Reading With Borle and Kennedy May 21

News   Time After Time, Musical Thriller With H.G. Wells as Hero, Gets NYC Reading With Borle and Kennedy May 21 The new musical, Time After Time, based on the novel and movie about a young H.G. Wells time-traveling to the future to chase Jack the Ripper, gets a private reading in Manhattan May 21.

The reading is a listening opportunity for the authors (lyricist-librettist Stephen Cole and composer Jeffrey Saver) and producer Van Kaplan of the Pittsburgh CLO. The resident Pittsburgh company holds the option on the piece and intends to produce it in 2006 after a production at Point Park College in early 2005. Another regional production will be announced, to play following the Point Park run.

Time After Time is based on the novel by Karl Alexander which was subsequently turned into the famous 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen. Cole and Saver have also written a musical version of "Dodsworth" entitled Continental Divide, which was produced by Kaplan when he was with Casa Manana in Texas. That production starred Hal Linden and Dee Hoty.

The May 21 Time After Time reading will feature Christian Borle (currently playing Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie) as H.G. Wells; Lauren Kennedy (of Trevor Nunn's Royal National Theatre's production of South Pacific) as his love interest in the 21st century, Amy Robbins; Brian Noonan (soon to be playing the Preacher in the world premiere of Night of the Hunter) as John Leslie Stephenson (aka Jack the Ripper) and Paige Price (of Saturday Night Fever, Smokey Joe's Cafe and Beauty and the Beast) as Carol Green. There will be an ensemble of eight playing all the other roles for the reading.

The musical direction is by Chris Fenwick.

* Time After Time, set in 1893 London and present day America, got a workshop and reading Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2002, as part of the Pittsburgh CLO/Carnegie Mellon University New Works Project, in Pittsburgh.

"I knew the movie," Cole previously told Playbill On-Line. "My first idea, way back when, was doing something with time travel, and then I thought about H.G. Wells' 'Time Machine.' And then I saw the movie again and thought this was too good."

The writers snagged the rights to Alexander's book. "We were lucky with the rights — the author and the agent have been wonderful over the years and waiting for us to do it," Cole said.

The plot concerns teacher, inventor and future science fiction writer Wells creating a time machine and chasing a friend, who turns out to be Jack the Ripper, into the future (New York City, 2003, instead of San Francisco of the book and film). There, he meets a contemporary woman, Amy, and falls in love, in a story that is part fish-out-of-water yarn, part thriller and part musical romance.

In the musical and the book, Cole said, "Wells believes the future will be a Utopia, and he finds out it's not, and that love is the only lasting thing in the world. He learns a few things from Jack the Ripper, too — that evil and good co exist. He thought in the world of the future that evil would be bred out."

Just as the plot mixes time periods, Saver's score has a traditional 1890s quality contrasted with a contemporary pop sound, Cole said.

Lyricist-librettist Cole may be best known for penning After the Fair (with composer Matthew Ward), seen at The York Theatre Company and produced in London, and the Kleban Award-winning musical Night of the Hunter (with composer Claibe Richardson) musical. He and Ward also wrote Casper, the Musical.

In addition to writing Dodsworth and specialty material with Cole, composer Saver is a Broadway musical director who has worked on more than a dozen Broadway shows, including the current Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman, the original Into the Woods, The Rink and Sunday in the Park With George.

The company of the 2002 Carnegie Mellon workshop was made up of students from CMU's prestigious musical theatre department. Direction was by Jason Coll, a CMU alum and free-lancer with Pittsburgh CLO, the well-known summer theatre founded in 1946.

The show is not to be confused with the Jule Styne song, "Time After Time" or the Jack Finney novel, "Time and Again" (which is also a musical by Walter Edgar Kennon) or the beloved time-travel film romance, "Somewhere in Time."

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A collaborative effort established in 2001, "the CLO/CMU New Works Project encourages the development and refinement of New Works of the American Musical Theater," according to Pittsburgh CLO. "By utilizing the resources of both the Pittsburgh CLO and Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, this program offers a unique opportunity for writers, lyricists, composers, directors, and actors from both the academic and professional worlds to enter the collaborative process, working side by side on new musicals. Scripts are selected by the members of both Pittsburgh CLO and CMU and successful staged readings and workshops in this project may go on to developmental productions at CMU or productions by Pittsburgh CLO."