Recently, we've seen an all-male Romeo And Juliet (titled R & J), not to mention a modernized film version starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. But is America ready for a rock & roll Romeo?
Apparently, the answer is a resounding yes, since Terrence Mann, the two- time Tony nominated Broadway musical actor, has composed a pop rock version of William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy. Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House is embarking on a workshop of the show, which has music by Mann and Jerome Korman.
"The show is completely sold out," Goodspeed spokesperson Jennifer Wislocki told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 3). "It's the hottest ticket in Connecticut. I guess it's because people just love that story, and I'm amazed at what a fan base Terrence [Mann] has."
Mann is directing the workshop, with choreography by Christopher D'Amboise. A four-week rehearsal period began Jan. 4, 1999, culminating in ten workshop performances for invited audiences at the second stage, Goodspeed-at-Chester.
Starring in the workshop are Tim Martin Gleason (Romeo), Miss Saigon's Deedee Lynn Magno (Juliet), Mark Deklin (Tybalt), Stacia Fernandez (Nurse), The Scarlet Pimpernel's Ken Land and Elizabeth Ward (Lord and Lady Capulet), John Schiappa (Friar), Abe Sylvia (Paris), Elmore James (Prince) and Sean Palmer (Mercutio). The rest of the cast includes Eric Bates, E. Clayton Cornelious, Lawson Harris, Patrick Kenny, David Kent, Kelli Kerslake, Joe Langworth, Michael Lomeka, Alex Lubliner, Aiza Rosario Medina, Mayumi Miguel and Brandy Zarle. Back in November 1998, Wislocki told Playbill On-Line Mann had initially thought of titling the musical "R & J" but then had to think of something else when the same-named Off-Broadway drama became a hit. (Joe Calarco's play closed in NY Jan. 3.) At the moment, Mann's work-in progress is being called Romeo And Juliet.
A Tony nominee for both Les Miserables and Beauty And The Beast, Mann most recently appeared on Broadway in the pre-vamped version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. He also played an unscrupulous toy-maker in the Jerry Herman TV musical, "Mrs. Santa Claus."
Just So ended the last Goodspeed season. Due in 1999: On The Twentieth Century (April 9-July 3, 1999, opening April 30), starring Mark Jacoby and Donna English, and directed by Ted Pappas; No, No Nanette (July 9-Oct. 2, 1999) directed by Stephen Terrell; and Glimmerglass (Oct. 8-Dec. 19, 1999). The Goodspeed-at-Chester season schedule should be announced in the next couple of weeks.
-- By David Lefkowitz and Sean McGrath