Rebecca's Estate Will Be Inhabited by Jill Paice and Ryan Silverman
By Kenneth Jones
Jill Paice will be the first-person lead known as "I," and Ryan Silverman will play her husband, Maxim de Winter, in Rebecca, the new Broadway musical that conjures the mysterious and haunted English estate called Manderley.
The producers announced their leading lady and man on June 20. (The title character is Maxim's first wife.) Other principal casting had already been announced for the European-crafted musical that will begin its Broadway life Oct. 30 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Opening night is Nov. 18.
Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore (Noises Off, Copenhagen, City of Angels) and Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid, Little House on the Prairie) co-direct.
The musical based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier (widely known as a film by Alfred Hitchcock) has original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard) and English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze.
The Broadway production marks the English-language premiere of the show, and includes storytelling amendments and new staging since its popular engagements in Europe.
Multiple Tony-nominated director-choreographer Graciela Daniele (Once On This Island, Ragtime) will create the musical staging for the Broadway production.
Here's how producers bill the show: Rebecca is a spectacular new musical drawn from the classic Daphne du Maurier novel about love and obsession reaching from beyond the grave. In this romantic thriller, Maxim de Winter brings his new wife [known only as 'I'] home to his estate of Manderley. There she meets the intimidating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who had a very special relationship with Maxim's first wife, the beautiful Rebecca, who died a year earlier in a boating accident. The young woman discovers Manderley is a house of devastating secrets, and the mystery of Rebecca may be the greatest of them all as she finds the strength to challenge Mrs. Danvers and save her marriage."
The source suspense novel by British writer du Maurier begins with the famous line, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." (Yes, the line is sung in the musical.)
As previously announced, the principal cast of Rebecca will feature Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!) as Mrs. Danvers, two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin (The Phantom of the Opera) as Frank Crawley, James Barbour (Beauty and the Beast, A Tale of Two Cities) as Jack Favell, Donna English (Lend Me a Tenor) as Beatrice de Winter, Nick Wyman (Les Misérables) as Giles and Henry Stram (1996 Obie winner, Broadway's Titanic) as Ben. The ensemble will be announced.
Paice appeared on Broadway in Curtains, The 39 Steps, A Little Night Music and The Woman in White. In London she starred as Scarlett O'Hara in Trevor Nunn's Gone With the Wind and the world premiere of The Woman in White. She received a Helen Hayes Award nomination as Best Actress for Ace at the Signature Theatre.
Silverman played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and in the national tour. He was also featured in Music in the Air (Karl) at New York City Center's Encores! series; Broadway's Cry-Baby; and The Most Happy Fella (Al) at New York City Opera. In London he played Tony in the Olivier Award-nominated West Side Story. In Las Vegas, he played Sky in Mamma Mia! He also performed in the national tour of Wicked, and in the world premiere of Carmen at La Jolla Playhouse.
Scenic design is by Peter J. Davidson, costumes are by Jane Greenwood, lighting is by Mark McCullough, sound is by Peter Fitzgerald, hair and wig design is by Tom Watson, make-up design is by Ashley Ryan, special effects are by Gregory Meeh and projections are by Sven Ortel. Musical direction and supervision are by Kevin Stites.
Rebecca had its world premiere in 2006 by Vereinigte Buhnen Wien at the Raimund Theater in Vienna, where it played for more than three years. Productions of Rebecca have also played Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo.
Rebecca is produced on Broadway by Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza; with The Shubert Organization, DC Tours Pty Ltd, Manderley Partners, Tony Fusco, Nanda Anand, Peter Bogyo, Peter Bezemes and Dennis Grimaldi, in association with David Mirvish, Stage Entertainment and Larry Feinman and by special arrangement with Vereinigte Bühnen Wien GmbH. The executive producer is Marshall B. Purdy.
Tickets are available via Telecharge.com or by phone at (212) 239-6200 or outside of New York metro area at (800) 432-7250. The date for walkup sales will be announced.
For more information, visit rebeccathemusical.com.
Kunze (original book and lyrics) grew up in Munich, where he studied law, history and philosophy. In the late 1960s, he started to write pop songs, and soon became one of the best known songwriters of Germany. Collaborating with Roman Polanski (director) and Jim Steinman (composer), he wrote his first English libretto and lyrics for the musical Dance of the Vampires. A German version opened in October 1997 at the Viennese Raimund Theatre to rave reviews and became an international hit. (He was not involved in the Broadway production of the musical). He also wrote the musicals Mozart! and Marie Antoinette.
Levay (music and orchestrations) was born in Maria Theresiopolis (Subotica) and is of Hungarian descent. His mother was a music teacher and his father a journalist and novelist. Working as a keyboard player, arranger, composer and a conductor in recording studios, he met Michael Kunze in the mid-1970s. Together they wrote and produced the hits "Fly Robin Fly," "Get Up and Boogie" and more. For "Fly Robin Fly," Levay and Kunze received a Grammy Award. Between 1977 and 1980 he wrote and produced songs for Elton John, Donna Summer, Herbie Mann and Sister Sledge. He composed music for the films "Cobra," "Hot Shots," "Burglar," "Touch and Go," "Creator" and "Flashdance." With Kunze he created the musical Witches, Witches in 1991. In 1992, they presented their second musical production, Elisabeth, in the Viennese Theater an der Wien. It has been performed in Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. Kunze & Levay's third musical, Mozart!, premiered in 1999.
Hampton (translation/adaptation and English lyrics) has penned plays, musicals and translations, earning three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, four Evening Standard awards and the New York Theatre Critics Circle Award. Prizes for his film and television work include an Academy Award, two BAFTAs, a Writer's Guild of America Award and more. His plays include Embers, The Talking Cure (2002), Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1994), White Chameleon (1991), Tales from Hollywood (1983), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985), Treats (1976), Savages (1973), The Philanthropist (1970), Total Eclipse (1968), When Did You Last See your Mother? (1966) and (with Don Black) the musicals Dracula (2004, with music by Frank Wildhorn) and Sunset Boulevard (1992, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber), plus opera libretti and many translations.
Hampton's screenplays include "Atonement" (2007), "The Quiet American" (2002), "Mary Reilly" (1996), "Total Eclipse" (1995), "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988), "The Good Father" (1986) and "The Honorary Consul" (1983). He has also written and directed three films: "Imagining Argentina" (2004), "The Secret Agent" (1996) and "Carrington" (1995).
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