With a screenplay and lyrics by Stéphane Ly-Cuong — based on an original idea by Ly-Cuong and Fabien Paul — Paradisco also features original music by Patrick Laviosa and is set to begin a week of shooting in Paris on April 20.
Ly-Cuong, a writer and director based in France, recently spoke to Playbill On-Line about his newest project. "The film is about a man in his mid-forties," Ly-Cuong explains, "who remembers a New Year’s Eve party in 1979 he spent with all his friends, more than 20 years ago. Magically, he finds himself in the middle of this party, seeing — without being seen — all the friends he had in his youth, hearing them sing their hopes, their dreams or their resolutions. The party is fun, but the man realizes that he lost lots of his friends over the last 20 years. But somehow, the energy and joy the guests have will be stronger than his own nostalgic feelings. It might sound sad," Ly-Cuong adds, "but it will be a very funny and optimistic film."
Pradon, who made his musical theatre debut as Marius in the 1991 Paris production of Les Misérables will play the lead role. The actor, who has starred in the West End productions of Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and the recent Jesus Christ Superstar video, also appeared opposite Barbara Scaff in Ly-Cuong's first short musical film, The Turtle and the Maiden.
Rapp, who portrayed angst-filled filmmaker Mark in both the original New York and London companies of Rent, will play an extravagant American friend. Ly-Cuong explains that Rapp's character is "funny, loud, outspoken, superficial and touching at the same time." The writer/director also comments, "I met Anthony a few years ago when he was doing Rent in London. I interviewed him for a magazine, and we became friends. When I was working on the script, I created the role of an American character with Anthony in mind, but I never dreamed that he would play the part." However, Rapp will fly in from New York between his concert engagement at Fez and his role in the Mister workshop. "I’m extremely proud and excited to work with him," Ly-Cuong says. The short musical film is being produced by Athanor Studio, and Patricia Delon and Laurent Doëzy will choreograph. Paradisco will be shown in French and international film festivals and is expected to air on French television.
Ly-Cuong, a former correspondent for Playbill On-Line, studied film in Paris and at Brooklyn College and directed a short video entitled Tarama No Tarama, which was presented in several festivals. In 1999, his short film, The Turtle And The Maiden, made its critically acclaimed debut. After Paradisco, the young artist hopes to direct a feature musical film.
—By Andrew Gans