Lyricist-librettist Mark Waldrop (When Pigs Fly, Whoop-Dee-Doo) and composer Brad Ross (Little by Little) have written a new musical, Mazel & Shlimazel, drawn from a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Ross, whose Little by Little was presented in 1998-99 by the York Theatre Company (and subsequently recorded), told Playbill On-Line that the short story sang to him when he first read it. "This thing captivated me from the get-go," he said.
Ross, who also wrote The Times, called Mazel & Shlimazel a fairy tale in which the spirits of good luck and bad luck wager that each will triumph in the life of "a woebegone young man, bereft of hope and down on his luck."
"The lesson is ultimately about making your own luck," said Ross. The point of the show isn't about bad luck triumphing, he added, but the character of Shlimazel does get some "awfully entertaining numbers."
A princess, a castle and rising fortunes are part of the script, meant for seven principals and an ensemble. In a production note to the script, Waldrop suggests a fanciful, imagination-stirring staging with puppetry, shadows, masks, dance, flying and more: Think Once on This Island crossed with Julie Taymor's Lion King and Juan Darien, Waldrop's note says.
Ross and Waldrop are peddling Mazel & Shlimazel to producers and theatres. Waldrop is currently directing Bette Midler's 1999-2000 concert show.
The folky property had previously intrigued Sheldon Harnick and Burton Lane, who once held the stage musical rights to the story.
-- By Kenneth Jones