Those curious to hear Mrs. Malaprop, of The Rivals, mangle the English language in song will get an earful beginning Jan. 21, when previews begin for Denver Center Theatre Company's musical version of the classic.
Elizabeth Huddle's adaptation, previously produced by Portland Center Stage, features music by Peter Schickele, known for the satirical musical character PDQ Bach, and lyrics by Louisa Rose. In director Huddle's Denver staging, a live chamber ensemble -- candlelit harpsichord and winds -- is used; in Portland in March 1997, the music was recorded.
Official opening on the Stage Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is Jan. 28. Performances continue to Feb. 20, 1999.
Broadway's Robert Westenberg stars as Capt. Jack Absolute in this new twist on the 1774 comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Westenberg's Broadway credits include Zorba, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods and the recent 1776 revival, his last Broadway role to date.
Mrs. Malaprop, whose name begat the word "malapropism," is played by DCTC veteran Kathleen M. Brady. Also in the cast are Randy Moore, Daniel Reichert, Mark McCarthy, Robert Sicular, Bruce Turk, Soren Oliver, Mark Evans, Suzanne Bouchard, Gloria Biegler and Susan Spencer.
Composer Schickele has won four Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album for his classical spoofs called PDQ Bach. He was also one of the composer lyricists for the notorious Broadway musical, Oh, Calcutta!
Lyricist Rose is also a playwright who has written lyrics for her play, Catherine, staged by Huddle at Seattle's Intiman Theatre. Among her projects is "lyrics adaptation" for Ntozake Shange's version of Mother Courage at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Designers for The Rivals are Michael Ganio (scenic), Robert Morgan (costumes), Derek Duarte (lighting), David R. White (sound). Karl Manfield is musical director.
Tickets range from $25-$36. For information, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222.
-- By Kenneth Jones