Tom Kitt, Sheldon Harnick, William Finn and More Contribute Songs to New Musical Stars of David
By Kenneth Jones
Stars of David, a new musical about Jewish identity, with a book by Charles Busch and songs by a collection of Broadway and Hollywood songwriters — from William Finn to Tom Kitt to Marvin Hamlisch to Marilyn and Alan Bergman — will open the 2012-13 season of Philadelphia Theatre Company.
This world-premiere production will be directed by Gordon Greenberg (Band Geeks!, Working). Dates will be announced.
Stars of David is a musical stage adaptation by Aaron Harnick of Abigail Pogrebin's acclaimed book "Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish."
Here's how PTC bills the work: "It is a snapshot of Jewish identity through the interviews with some of America's most recognizable public figures, including: Gloria Steinem, Leonard Nimoy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Edgar Bronfman, Sr., Joan Rivers, Norman Lear and Wendy Wasserstein."
With a book by Busch (The Tale of the Allergist's Wife), "the interviews will be transformed into songs" by composers and lyricists including William Finn (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line), Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, Or Change), Richard Maltby & David Shire (Closer Than Ever), Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Marilyn & Alan Bergman ("Yentl"), Amanda Green (High Fidelity), Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller (The Burnt Part Boys), Susan Birkenhead (Jelly's Last Jam) and others.
Stars of David received a staged reading as part of PTC's two-week festival of new work, PTC@PLAY, which featured readings of new work from 13 writers and composers from around the country. The Festival also included the announcement of the first Terrence McNally New Play Award, which went to playwright Bill Cain.
Sara Garonzik, PTC's producing artistic director, said in a statement, "The timing seems very right for Stars of David, which is reflective of the ongoing cultural conversation around faith and its role in contemporary life."
Stars of David joins the previously announced Seminar by Theresa Rebeck and The Mountaintop by Katori Hall comprising PTC's 2012-13 season. A fourth play will be announced shortly.
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