PS Classics founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill On-Line orders for Zanna through the PS Classics website have already exceeded those of any of the label's prior releases, including the cast album of Broadway's current Nine.
"I knew there were a lot of folks eagerly awaiting the Zanna, Don't! CD, but I wasn't quite prepared for anything like this," Krasker said. "We've been bombarded with orders and letters from every demographic imaginable: gays and straights, young and old, urban and rural."
During the spring 2003 run of the show Off-Broadway, theatregoers stuffed a box with their addresses to receive information about a future cast album. That future seems to be at hand.
Jai Rodriguez starred as magical matchmaker Zanna Off Broadway before he achieved wider celebrity as one of the so-called Fab Five on TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." He is also heard on the disc.
Krasker said Rodriguez's presence in the project is a boost to sales, "but I think it's more than that." "I think people just really respond to the show's wit and warmth and imagination — not to mention that it's one of the most tuneful shows to come down the pike in a long time," Krasker said.
Tim Acito wrote the book, music and lyrics for the musical fairy tale, Zanna, Don't!, set in a high school where the world is all gay and two heterosexual kids find themselves as the outsiders. The show mixes pop, rock, funk, show tune and specialty song to create a bubble gum-flavored satire with heart.
Ricky Ian Gordon and Richard Nelson's more classically infused My Life With Albertine is drawn from a section of Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," about young Marcel's seminal relationship with the title character. For Playwrights Horizons, Tony Award-winner Brent Carver played the older Marcel (and is heard on the CD).
Though both discs hit stores Oct. 7, they can also be ordered on the label's website at www.psclassics.com.
"We never expected to release these two shows at the same time when we recorded them — the timing just worked out that way," said PS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin. "But each show has a passionate and devoted following, and if the dual release allows someone who's looking to buy one CD to sample the other, we figure what's wrong with that? You couldn't ask for more disparate scores than Zanna and Albertine, and we hope it shows the range PS Classics is embracing in theatre music, whether it veers more towards the classical or more towards pop."
Both shows bowed Off-Broadway in the 2002-03 season. Composer-lyricist Ricky Ian Gordon collaborated with book writer and co-lyricist Richard Nelson to create the European, rarefied, romantic world of My Life With Albertine, a chamber musical drawing on a section of Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past." Playwrights Horizons offered the world premiere, with a cast that included Brent Carver, Chad Kimball, Emily Skinner, Kelli O'Hara and more.
A satire with big heart, a wide range of musical styles and a title character who is a magical matchmaker, Zanna, Don't! was an audience and critics' favorite in a developmental run in fall 2002, and had a short spring 2003 run Off-Broadway. Zanna was acclaimed but didn't generate enough business to keep it going in the relative shadows of Off-Broadway.
As previously reported by Playbill On-Line, Zanna producer Jack M. Dalgleish is working on a plan to bring the show to Broadway, where it might thrive with more exposure.