By Steven Suskin
02 Jul 2014
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
Randy Newman's Faust — which hit a dead end following mid-1990s tryouts in San Diego and Chicago — was revamped and somewhat modernized for a one-night-only concert performance as part of the City Center Encores! Off-Center series. Playing the devil Lucifer — "Luci," as they call him — was Randy Newman himself.
The Oscar/Emmy/Grammy-winning songwriter entered (the stage was simply set with platforms for the twelve musicians and stool-seating for the fifteen-person choir, plus a cloudbank that flew in and out) dressed in black with a grand cape (lined in bright red) and a pair of red horns. Newman sat at the piano and sang, narrated and played his way through the evening. He has a grand presence; gruff, blustering and cuddly, and he proceeds to charm his way through two acts in two hours.
A quick Internet search reveals that Scott did, indeed, play the role in the two tryouts; Faust was played by her husband Kurt Deutsch. (The two later married and founded the invaluable Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight labels, responsible for numerous cast recordings.) Michael Greif's productions at the La Jolla Playhouse (Sept. 1995) and the Goodman Theatre (Sept. 1996) — with his landmark production of Rent falling in between — starred David Garrison as the Devil and Ken Page as the Lord. Simultaneously with the initial production, Newman released a concept album version of the score, featuring a star-studded cast (including James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Newman as The Devil.)Continued...