DRG Will Record Broadway Revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Two Discs
By Adam Hetrick
The Broadway revival of Rupert Holmes' Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase, Chita Rivera and Betsy Wolfe, will get a two-disc cast album from DRG Records.
The two-disc album will preserve music not heard on the original 1985 Broadway cast album, including "Jasper's Vision/Smoke Ballet," as well as eight separate tracks that capture the confessions of the musical's potential murderers.
The cast will gather at KAS Studios in Astoria Dec. 10 to record the album that is aiming for a Jan. 19, 2013, digital and in-store release date. The album will be produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and DRG Records president Hugh Fordin and engineered by Cynthia Daniels.
Holmes (Curtains, Say Goodnight Gracie, The Nutty Professor, "Remember WENN") wrote the book, music and lyrics to Drood, and has revised the material since audiences first experienced it on Broadway over three decades ago.
Revised material includes "Ceylon," which now incorporates "A British Subject"; as well as a new second act opener, "An English Music Hall."
Holmes will pen the liner notes for the album that will reflect new material and revisions. Holmes has also re-orchestrated the production for a 19-piece orchestra led by Paul Gemignani. The score features such songs as "Moonfall," "The Writing On the Wall," "Perfect Strangers, "The Wages of Sin" and "Two Kinsman."
Seen through Holmes' dramatic framing device, Charles Dickens' unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood invites audiences to take part in the action with a choose-your-own-adventure-style ending where they vote on which character murders Drood (as well as choosing a romantic pairing and the identity of a mystery detective). Holmes has penned multiple endings, confessional songs and plot twists for Drood, which keeps its actors on their toes.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood first premiered as part of Shakespeare in the Park in 1985. The celebrated production, stuffed with chamber pieces and English Music Hall-style songs, transferred to Broadway and picked up Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.
Stephanie J. Block (Anything Goes, Wicked, The Pirate Queen) stars as Drood, in a company that also features Tony winner Chita Rivera (The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Princess Puffer, Tony winner Jim Norton (The Seafarer) as Chairman, Will Chase ("Smash") as John Jasper, Gregg Edelman (City of Angels) as Reverend Mr. Crisparkle, 2012 Tony nominee Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day…) as Helena Landless, Betsy Wolfe (Encores! Merrily We Roll Along) as Rosa Bud, Andy Karl (Legally Blonde the Musical) as Neville Landless, Nicholas Barasch as Deputy, Peter Benson (Wonderful Town, Harvey) as Bazzard, Robert Creighton (Anything Goes) as Durdles, Alison Cimmet (Baby It's You!), Jim Walton (Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along), Kyle Coffman, Nick Corley, Justin Greer, Shannon Lewis, Kiira Schmidt, Eric Sciotto, Janine DiVita, Jenifer Foote and Spencer Plachy.
"Who killed Edwin Drood?" Roundabout asks. "It's a question that has stumped audiences for years — now it's your turn to answer one of Broadway's most baffling mysteries. Take a trip back in time to a Victorian music hall where a rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens' unfinished novel. Everyone on stage is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood — and it's up to you to choose the killer! Is it John Jasper, Edwin's protective but slightly maniacal uncle? Rosa Bud, his reluctant betrothed? The debauched Princess Puffer? Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides!"
Scott Ellis (Harvey, Twelve Angry Men) directs the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which officially opened Nov. 13 and is currently playing a limited run through Feb. 10, 2013. The revival has choreography by Warren Carlyle (Finian's Rainbow, Chaplin).
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