Ethan McSweeny (Broadway's The Best Man) will direct the staging, repeating his duties for a revised production that played Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in late 2004. The musical by composer David Friedman and lyricist-librettist Peter Kellogg is drawn from the 13th-century fable of Aucassin and Nicolette, lovers separated by race, class, religion and geography.
Flirting with styles associated with Moliere and Shakespeare, the musical boasts rhyming couplets, disguise, chases, sword fighting and romance.
Joe Davis and William P. Suter will produce with other partners. Opening night is Oct. 20 at the 499-seat Little Shubert.
Davis told Playbill.com that the intention is to try to reunite members of the 2004 creative team and cast. At Prince Music Theater (and in the 2000 world premiere at Westport Country Playhouse), Bronson Pinchot played Valere, a witty and comic servant who aids the lovers in their quest to be together.
A more complete announcement about casting and creatives is expected in coming weeks. Will there be any changes to the script?
"We were in good shape when we opened at the Prince, since we had done numerous workshops and done the show in Westport several years before, but having the audience there allowed us to tweak several areas where we had several choices as to how to do things," composer Friedman told Playbill.com June 28. "There will certainly be more tweaks and there were a few ideas we never got the chance to implement at the Prince which we can't wait to try. Also, because of budgetary reasons, the Prince essentially utilized half the planned set, so we're excited about doing the show with the full set."
Karma Camp choreographed in Philly, where the Prince staging ran Dec. 4, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005.
The Prince production included songs not heard in the earlier Westport production, and an enhanced orchestra. The cast totaled 10, including Pinchot ("Perfect Strangers," Sly Fox, Putting It Together), Bill Buell as Beauclaire, Kevin R. Free as Nemur, Kingsley Leggs as King of Carthage, Mary Martello as a Nun, Jasika Nicole Pruitt as Nicolette, Davis Duffield as Aucassin, Dale Radunz as Montescu, Richard White as Valence and Rebecca Bellingham as Gwendolyn.
Composer Friedman's songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, Nancy LaMott, Kathie Lee Gifford, Laura Branigan, LMNT and Petula Clark, among others. His work as conductor/vocal arranger for Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," "Pocahontas" and "The Hunch Back of Notre Dame," led to his writing music and lyrics for Disney's "Aladdin and the King of Thieves." He also wrote all the music and lyrics for three animated television series "Happy Ness" (ABC), "Dragon Flyz" and "Skydancers." he won The Johnny Mercer Award for Songwriter of the Year and The Backstage Bistro Award for Composer of the Year. His work has been performed at Carnegie Hall with the Boston Pops, on numerous albums and on "Touched By An Angel," "The Tonight Show," "Good Morning America" and "Live, with Regis & Kathie Lee."
In his New York theatrical debut, Peter Kellogg received two Tony Award nominations for book and lyrics to the musical, Anna Karenina. He and the composer are currently recording a CD of the score with Melissa Errico, Roger Bart and John Cullum. Peter also wrote the English lyrics and co-wrote the book for Volodya, a musical based on the life and songs of the Russian dissident songwriter, Vladimir Vysotsky.