Emmy Award winner Daniel J. Travanti ("Hill Street Blues") stars in the Old Globe Theatre's production of Jon Marans' Old Wicked Songs, opening May 27 on the Cassius Carter Stage. Previews began May 24 with a run continuing through July 2.
Travanti, a two-time Emmy winner as Captain Frank Furillo, last trod the Old Globe stage in 1977's The Taming of the Shrew. Other stage credits include Only Kidding, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, I Never Sang For My Father and A Touch of the Poet.
Travanti plays the aging vocal accompanist, Professor Josef Mashkan, who is saddled with a brash 25 year old pianist from America, Stephen Hoffman (Peter Smith). Although it's hate at first sight, the two men come to understand and help one another through Schumann's "Dichterliebe" song cycle.
This epiphany is achieved in the context of Austro-German history. In visiting the site of a Nazi death camp, Hoffman develops an appreciation of the Holocaust's effects on the lives of his professor's generation. The action takes place in 1986, while Austrian President Kurt Waldheim is seeking reelection. Revelations regarding Waldheim's Nazi past add immediacy to this exploration of identity.
Marans' previous work has included writing for TV's "The New Carol Burnett Show," the play Child Child, which won The Preston Jones New Play Award, and the book to two musicals, The Leaves Will Be Off the Trees and Green. Designing Wicked Songs are Robin Sanford Roberts (sets), Dione H. Lebhar (costumes), Ron Vodicka (lighting) and Jeff Ladman (sound). Raul Moncada is the stage manager.
Tickets are $42-$23. The Old Globe Theatre is located in Balboa Park, beside the Museum of Man. For tickets, call (619) 239-2255. The Old Globe is on the web at http://www.oldglobe.org.
-- By Christine Ehren
and David Lefkowitz