Wagner Tune Wafts Through the Years in World Premiere, Doris to Darlene, in NYC

News   Wagner Tune Wafts Through the Years in World Premiere, Doris to Darlene, in NYC A 19th-century theme by composer Richard Wagner influences later generations in the world premiere of Jordan Harrison's music-filled Doris to Darlene, A Cautionary Valentine, starting Nov. 16 at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons.
Doris to Darlene playwright Jordan Harrison
Doris to Darlene playwright Jordan Harrison

Les Waters, whose visually potent staging of Eurydice recently played Off-Broadway, directs a cast that includes award-winning jazz vocalist de'Adre Aziza (Passing Strange at The Public), David Chandler (Black Sea Follies at Playwrights Horizons, plus Broadway's Lost in Yonkers, Death of a Salesman), Michael Crane (2007 New York Innovative Theater Award nominee for West Moon Street by Prospect Theater Company), Laura Heisler (People Be Heard at Playwrights Horizons, Coram Boy on Broadway), Tom Nelis (the current Iphigenia 2.0 at Signature, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and Aida on Broadway) and Tobias Segal (Austin Pendleton's production of My Name Is Richard at 78th Street Theater Lab, Barrymore Award for Equus).

Opening is Dec. 11.

The play "deals with the nature of music and how it influences our lives," and features two songs with music by Obie Award winner Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons), set to Harrison's lyrics.

Doris to Darlene, according to Playwrights Horizons, "begins in the candy-colored 1960s, when a biracial schoolgirl named Doris (de'Adre Aziza) is molded into pop star Darlene by a whiz-kid record producer (Michael Crane) who culls a top-ten hit out of Richard Wagner's Liebestod. Rewind to the candy-colored 1860s, where Wagner (David Chandler) is writing the melody that will become Darlene's hit song. Fast-forward to the not-so-candy-colored present, where a teenager (Tobias Segal) obsesses over Darlene's music — and his music teacher (Tom Nelis). Three dissonant decades merge into an unlikely harmony in this time-jumping pop fairy tale about the dreams and disasters behind one transcendent song."

* This will mark the Off-Broadway debut for Harrison, whose plays include Act a Lady and Finn in the Underworld. His work has been presented at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Berkeley Rep and American Theater Company, and he's received commissions from such theatres as South Coast Repertory and The Guthrie. Harrison is the recipient of the Heideman Award, two Jerome Fellowships and a McKnight Grant. This season, his Off-Broadway premiere will be followed by his second play in New York City: the Clubbed Thumb production of Amazons and Their Men at Walkerspace this coming January.

Obie Award winner Les Waters staged the critically acclaimed, extended Eurydice at Second Stage and Big Love at BAM.

Performances of Doris to Darlene will continue through Dec. 23 at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater, 416 West 42nd Street.

The production features scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Christal Weatherly, lighting design by Jane Cox and soundscape by Darron L. West. Production stage manager will be Elizabeth Moreau.

Playwrights Horizons' production of Doris to Darlene has received support from the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

Tickets are $65. Tickets may be purchased online via TicketCentral.com, by phone at (212) 279-4200 (noon-8 PM daily), or in person at the Ticket Central box office, 416 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Visit www.playwrightshorizons.org for more information.