To Tell the Truth: Michael John LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See Opens Off-Broadway Oct. 30

News   To Tell the Truth: Michael John LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See Opens Off-Broadway Oct. 30 Michael John LaChiusa explores the nature of truth and lies in See What I Wanna See, a new musical inspired by the Japanese short stories of Ryunosuke Akutagawa, which opens at the Public Theater on Oct. 30 after previews from Oct. 11.
Idina Menzel in See What I Wanna See.
Idina Menzel in See What I Wanna See. Photo by Michal Daniel

The show recently extended an extra two weeks to Dec. 4. It stars Idina Menzel, who, due to her starring role in Wicked, has become one of the most popular performers on the musical stage. Also in the cast are Marc Kudisch (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Aaron Lohr (Radiant Baby), Menzel (Rent, Wicked), Henry Stram (Broadway's The Crucible, Titanic) and Mary Testa (On the Town, Marie Christine, A New Brain). Each performer plays multiple characters in the show, which is divided into two thematically linked, but distinct one-act musicals.

LaChiusa, one of the musical theatre's busiest and most talked-about writers (Hello Again, Marie Christine, First Lady Suite, The Wild Party), here takes his inspiration from the tales that inspired the famed 1950 film "Rashomon" — in which a violent incident is recounted by various witnesses and participants, offering different views of "truth."

In the musical's first act, titled "R Shomon," the time of this tale is advanced to 1951 New York City and the tone is film noir as the police interrogate the suspects surrounding the rape of a lounge entertainer (Menzel) and the murder or her husband (Kudisch) in Central Park. The second act, "Gloryday," is set in the present day. A priest (Stram), his faith shaken by a recent tragic event, lashes back at his calling by staging an elaborate practical joke in Central Park. When his ruse attracts the attention of countless pilgrims, however, the result is something he hadn't bargained for.

The production under Ted Sperling's direction (and Chris Fenwick's musical direction) marks the New York premiere of the work, seen under a different title at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Musical staging is by Jonathan Butterell. Performances play in the Public's Anspacher space.

See What I Wanna See has scenic design by Thomas Lynch, costume design by Elizabeth Caitlin Ward, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

From Left: Aaron Lohr, Marc Kudisch, Mary Testa and Idina Menzel in <i>See What I Wanna See</i>.
From Left: Aaron Lohr, Marc Kudisch, Mary Testa and Idina Menzel in See What I Wanna See. Photo by Michal Daniel
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