English gothic fiction meets Southern gothic excess.
That's how Actors Theatre of Louisville is billing its staging of the spoof, Wuthering! Heights! The! Musical!, opening the ATL season at the Pamela Brown Auditorium Sept. 29.
The comic show by lyricist-librettist Eddie Levi Lee and composer Edd Key takes place in Trimble County, GA, where socialite Cooka Pippin (played by Suzi Bass) plans to stage a musical version of the Emily Bronte classic for her high school reunion.
Lee, artistic director of Seattle's Empty Space, where the show had its premiere in 1997, stages the ATL production, with composer Key playing Ed Steckel, the piano teacher roped into composing the community theatre version of the gothic Victorian classic.
The cast also includes Burton Curtis, Rebekha Baty and Fred Major. The show-within-a-show has participants in of the Georgia high school reunion putting on a pageant featuring themselves as "Wuthering Heights" characters. The original story followed rough-hewn Heathcliff's revenge on the man who married his true love, Cathy.
Designers are Paul Owen (set), Tony Penna (lighting), Martin R. Desjardins (sound), Mark Walston (props) and Holly Jenkins Evans (costumes).
Lee is the author of Tent Meeting (which premiered at ATL's Humana Festival in 1985)The Salvation Of Iggy Scrooge, Blood Orgy Of The Bermuda Triangle Zombie Assassins and Some Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends...A Final Evening With The Illuminati (which premiered at ATL's Humana Festival in 1986). Key wrote the music for Iggy Scrooge and Empty Space's The School For Wives. Songs range from bossa nova to Les Miz-style operatic.
Performances continue to Oct. 21. A preview played Sept. 28.
Tickets range $10-$35. ATL is at 316 Main Street in downtown Louisville. For information, call (502) 584-1205 or (800) 4-ATL-TIX or visit the web site at www.actorstheatre.org.
This is the 37th season for ATL, which received the Tony Award for outstanding regional theatre. The troupe is under the leadership of new artistic director Marc Masterson this season. Longtime director Jon Jory is now teaching and directing in Seattle.
— By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz