As musical book-writer Mark Saltzman prepares his Tin Pan Alley Ragfor its latest production (at the Cleveland Play House, Nov. 27-Dec. 30), he's also working on another new tuner, Romeo Romeo, which will embark on its next stage of readings this fall.
With a book and lyrics by Saltzman and a score made up of Neapolitan songs — with new or translated lyrics — by such opera composers as Rossini and Leoncavallo, Romeo has already had preliminary readings in New York and L.A.
Arnold Mittelman, artistic director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, is the lead producer on the project. "He's trying to interest some other theatres in the show," Saltzman told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 21), "since cost-wise everything has to be a co-production these days." The New York readings will take place in September-October.
Other shows that have taken their cue from classical music include Carmen Jones and Kismet, with Aida and Rent borrowing storylines and Amadeus, The Lisbon Traviata and Master Class dipping into that world for subject matter.
— By David Lefkowitz