Alex Timbers Will Direct The Last Goodbye, Fusing Romeo and Juliet With Music of Late Songwriter Jeff Buckley
By Michael Gioia
The Old Globe will open its 2013-14 season with The Last Goodbye, a new musical that marries Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the incendiary songs of singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Performances will begin Sept. 20 in San Diego.
Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, the rock musical will be directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) with choreography by Sonya Tayeh ("So You Think You Can Dance") and orchestrations, music direction and arrangements by Kris Kukul.
The complete creative team and cast, as well as the remainder of the Globe's new season, will be announced at a later date.
The Last Goodbye will run on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, through Nov. 3. Opening night is set for Oct. 6.
The Last Goodbye, according to the Old Globe, "is a remarkable fusion of the classic and the modern, melding Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in its original text and period, with some of the most thrilling rock music of the past 20 years, staged with limitless invention by one of the true theatrical visionaries at work today. That light in yonder window is still the east and Juliet is still the sun . . . but the sound in her bedchamber is all new: the sweeping, emotional and extraordinarily beautiful songs of the late rock icon Jeff Buckley. The Last Goodbye views the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues firmly from the perspective of the young people it impacts most, and the violence, turmoil and passion in the public streets and private rooms of Verona are given voice not only through Shakespeare's celebrated poetry but also through music that is intimate and epic, raucous and sublime."
Plans for a future Broadway production have not been announced; however, The Old Globe presents this new version of The Last Goodbye by special arrangement with Hal Luftig, Ruth and Steve Hendel, The Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group and executive producer Lauren Fitzgerald.
An earlier version had its world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2010, where it broke all box-office records for Williamstown's Nikos Stage. The new version opening at The Old Globe reflects two years of developmental workshops under the direction of Timbers.
"This daring, moving and hugely entertaining work brings together many of the things that are central to the Globe's identity: a classic text, the vibrant energies of the musical theatre, a sumptuous and splendid production and a creative team of the first rank in the American Theatre," said artistic director Barry Edelstein in a statement.
"I cannot imagine a better launching pad for this project than The Old Globe," added Mary Guibert, mother of the late Buckley. "Michael Kimmel's concept, which combines Jeff's music and the Bard's words, lifts the story to another level, entirely . . . and it rocks! I can't wait to share it with the world."
Buckley was born in California's Orange County Nov. 17, 1966, and died in Memphis on May 29, 1997. His only full-length, full-band studio album "Grace," released in 1994, includes his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Buckley and his band spent the following two years touring the world in support of the album. He was awarded France's prestigious Grand Prix International du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros in 1995, as well as Platinum Record plaques from France, the U.K. and Australia. "Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk" was released posthumously in 1998 and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
Under the leadership of artistic director Barry Edelstein and managing director Michael G. Murphy, The Tony Award-winning Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival.
The Old Globe is located in San Diego's Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. For more information and tickets, call (619) 23-GLOBE or visit TheOldGlobe.org.
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