The Jazz Age-set musical about the lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his love, Zelda, has music by Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel) and book and lyrics by Jack Murphy and story by Vincent Marini and Murphy.
Marini will direct the July 14-22, 2007, run, as he did the developmental world premiere in summer 2005 at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in Marlton, NJ, where he is artistic director.
Marini told Playbill.com that Jarrod Emick and Lauren Kennedy remain attached to the project. They starred as Scott and Zelda in 2005.
Also on board for the North Carolina staging (and resuming the roles they assumed in the New Jersey production) are Howell Binkley (lighting), Ron Melrose (musical director), Andy Blankenbuehler (choreography), Kim Scharnberg (orchestrations), Rob Odorisio (scenic design), Janine McCabe (costume design) and Michael Clark (projections).
"We want to re-visit this," Marini told Playbill.com, adding that the project will have a workshop/reading in New York City in fall or early winter 2006. Marini, Wildhorn and Murphy are currently working on a re-tooled version of the Tony-nominated musical, The Civil War, now called For the Glory, being installed into the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg, PA, for a summer 2006 run that may become an annual event there.
Of Waiting for the Moon, Marini said, "We're thrilled we're doing it in North Carolina. [We'll] use that production to do what we need to get the book right and improve upon the music. We'll use it for what regional theatres are there for — to find the heart and soul of the show. My goal as a director is just to do everything we can over the next year to prepare. Of course we hope that the show goes to Broadway, but for now we will focus on the North Carolina production."
Here's how NCT bills the show: "Don't miss being a part of NCT history as Frank Wilhorn's Waiting for the Moon makes its pre-Broadway debut on our stage for you! This American love story is set during the Jazz Age as 'The Great Gatsby' novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and wife, Zelda, experience the rise and fall of success."
Also on the NCT 2007 schedule are A Man of No Importance, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar starring Ray Walker as Judas and Man of La Mancha starring Ira David Wood III.
Waiting for the Moon was previously titled Scott & Zelda: The Other Side of Paradise.
The 2005 staging marked the first world premiere for the four-year-old Lenape center, a 1,500-seat presenting and producing house which operates June-October.
Emick appeared in Broadway's Damn Yankees revival (taking home a Tony Award for playing the star ballplayer Joe Hardy), The Boy From Oz and The Rocky Horror Show. Kennedy played Nellie Forbush in Trevor Nunn's South Pacific in London, and appeared in Broadway's Side Show and Sunset Blvd. (also the national tour).
Composer Wildhorn and lyricist-librettist Jack Murphy previously teamed on Broadway's The Civil War (Murphy was credited as one of the project's three authors, with Gregory Boyd and Wildhorn), which also toured in a leaner conceptual concert version.
Wildhorn and Murphy have also written the musical Vienna — The Last Waltz. Wildhorn's Broadway musicals include Dracula, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Jekyll & Hyde.
Marini previously told Playbill.com, "In a lot of ways it does have the feel of an old-fashioned book musical, but the method of storytelling is a very modern and cinematic. It's a uniquely American love story about two people who really did have a storybook love affair, but made the decision to become celebrities — and how their relationship changes because of that."
Marini said the work is not strict Fitzgerald biography, although it does draw on specific incidents in the life of the couple. "We don't confine ourselves to their lives," he explained. "It's about two people who fall in love and what celebrity does to their love — and it's about second chances."
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was the hot Jazz Age novelist who wrote "This Side of Paradise," "The Beautiful and Damned," "The Great Gatsby," "Tender Is the Night" and "The Last Tycoon." His wife, Zelda, slipped into madness. New York and the French Riviera were their playgrounds.
The musical style of the show "is very different for Frank," Marini said. Don't expect the driving pop of Jekyll & Hyde. "He channels Cole Porter, Gershwin, Irving Berlin…"
It's also a "high-energy dance show" with ensemble numbers.
"We think this has the potential of being a Broadway show, but we're looking now at making it the best to can be, and learning from it," Marini said. "If we do a great show…a future will follow."
The 2005 cast included Ben Dibble as Ben Cameron (The Reporter), Sean Palmer (as Edouard), Leslie Alexander (as Mrs. Sayer) and Matt Wall, Jessica Lea Patty, Mike McGowan, Jordan Cable, Terri Dixon, Alison Cimmet, Tim Federle, Keith Kuhl, Rachel Bress, Kristin Piro, Brandi Wooten, Nova Bergeron and Scott Greer.
Marini met Wildhorn through an association with singer Linda Eder, who sang in concert in the first season at Lenape in 2002. A concert version of Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde debuted at Lenape in 2004. After the success of J&H there, Wildhorn mentioned the Scott and Zelda project to Marini and discussions led to the full staging.