The world premiere musical about King David, David in Shadow and Light, commissioned by Theater J together with the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, will bow May 6-June 22, 2008.
With libretto by Yehuda Hyman, music by Daniel Hoffman, choreography by Peter DiMuro and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and direction by Nick Olcott, the musical is an "epic musical retelling of King David's astonishing trajectory from boy shepherd, to superstar ruler, to aging king as he wrestles with the lowest and the purest form of human impulses," according to Theater J.
The "visually stunning production incorporates thrilling dance sequences and a post-modern frame through which the triumphs and travails of the Bible's most charismatic characters are brought to life."
The story's "earthy sexuality" — David's marriage to both King Saul's daughter Michal and his paramour Bathsheba, as well as the ardent love he shares with Saul's son, Jonathan — combined with its portrait of blood, war and passion, is at once immediate and powerful."
The cast will include D.C.'s Matthew Anderson, Will Gartshore, Donna Migliaccio, Margo Siebert, Bobby Smith, Russell Sunday and Harry Winter. Roth calls it "the biggest undertaking in Theater J's history." The piece has been workshopped for two years.
"Why do a show about King David now?" Roth asks. "Because he was the biggest celebrity to ever walk the face of the earth. He had the greatest gifts, the highest charisma quotient, he was wildly popular, wildly romantic, rapacious, God-fearing, flesh loving, a bollix of contradictions — how contemporary is that?"
Theater J's new season will also include David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow (opening the season this fall); Arthur Miller's The Price, starring Robert Prosky alongside his two sons, Andrew and John Prosky, for the first time ever on a DC stage; a musical adaptation of an I.B. Singer play (Shlemiel the First, by Hankus Netsky, Zalman Mlotek and Arnold Weinstein), featuring Helen Hayes Award winner Donna Migliaccio, with Thomas Howley and Dan Manning; the one-woman 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother by Kate Moira Ryan and Judy Gold; and More Voices from a Changing Middle East: A Festival.
Theater J will also present the first year of its Incubator Series, boasting four ambitious new pieces-in-progress: Accident by Amy Ziff; What to Listen For by Kathleen Tolan; Rabbi Sam by Charlie Varon; and Brownie Points by Janece Shafer.
For more information visit www.theaterj.org.