Composer Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Civil War) and his wife, the singer Linda Eder (Jekyll and Hyde), report a change in their recording and theatre project release schedule due to the success of Eder’s new holiday CD, Christmas Stays the Same.
Sources at Atlantic Records have confirmed initial reports that Eder’s CD is moving quickly, selling 15,000 units last week. “It’s Linda’s single best week ever for any record,” a source at Wildhorn’s office told Playbill On- Line.
At Wildhorn’s office, located at Atlantic Records, music and theatre are grist for the same mill. Thus, while Wildhorn’s staff is busy with the closing of Jekyll and Hyde, they are also reorganizing schedules to take advantage of Eder’s CD success as well as a strong surge in ticket sales — the former Jekyll and Hyde star has also sold out Carnegie Hall twice this year.
Wildhorn, Eder and Atlantic plan to maximize the singer’s surge in popularity, which will mean rescheduling the release of next year’s theatre productions, the theme series, The Romantics. As reported earlier this fall, Wildhorn told Playbill On-Line that Havana, Dracula and the other segments from The Romantics are based on several historic couples. These pieces will make up the composer's production schedule for the next few years. Each segment features a three-part format, with the female lead having her moment, the male lead his and then a shared moment featuring both.
But first, a new pop album from Eder will follow her upcoming Carnegie Hall concert. That LP will feature songs written by Wildhorn as well as some covers. Wildhorn’s office tells Playbill On-Line that a cover of rock act Journey’s hit, “Open Arms” may be included as well as various new collaborations between Wildhorn, Eder and other writers. Thus, the revised Wildhorn schedule goes from the holiday CD to the Carnegie Hall concert, the pop album and then work on the Dracula concept album, which is being broken out as an individual project from the remainder of the Romantics segments.
Wildhorn plans to unveil Dracula in the fall of 2001. This will be followed by Havana, which has been pushed back to 2002, and Bonnie and Clyde in 2003. The latter is one of the "franchise" break outs from the The Romantics anthology musical project currently in development.
The Romantics was described by the composer as "a multi-layered musical/theatrical project that encompasses the staggered release of a series of recordings (The Romantics, Volume 1, 2, 3, etc.), a televised concert special, and a live theatrical concert tour." Based on theatrical and dramatic moments from the real lives of both famous literary and historical couples, The Romantics will comprise several 12-15 minute "mini musicals." Some of these, including Svengali and Bonnie and Clyde, have already been mentioned for development as franchise properties.
Production notes indicate that Wildhorn plans the recordings to "revolve around Linda Eder playing the various female roles and...to surround her with my favorite male theatre singers, Anthony Warlow, Michael Ball, and other potential 'guest' artists."
Among the possible scenarios being discussed, Wildhorn's office says, are an eventual concert tour featuring Eder and a televised concert special. Wildhorn plans another "hook" for the project, whereby he will be writing each segment with a different major lyricist.
The lyricists already committed to Romantics include: Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel, Titanic) for the segment "Adam & Eve"; Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) for the segment "Anna Karenina"; David Zippel (City of Angels, Disney's "Hercules") for the segment "Anthony and Cleopatra"; Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love, Song and Dance) for the segment "Bonnie and Clyde"; Nan Knighton (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Saturday Night Fever) for the segment "Camille Claudel and Rodin"; Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll and Hyde, Victor/Victoria) for the segment "Cyrano"; Jack Murphy (The Civil War, Havana) for the segment "F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda"; Gregory Boyd for the segment "Svengali"; Robin Lerner for the segment "Heloise and Abelard," Jim Steinman for the segment "Ladyhawke."
— by Murdoch McBride