With so many Jane Eyres filling this season, Bronte family fans will get a break when Seattle's Empty Space Theatre offers an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, by Charlotte Bronte's sister, Emily.
Not that this adaptation, with book and lyrics by Eddie Levi Lee and music by Edd Key, will be a dour, portentous and literal version of the gothic novel. Brutal revenge and stormy passion are still key elements of Key's musical, which is enthusiastically titled, Wuthering! Heights! The! Musical!. Previewing May 23, and opening May 28, W!H!T!M! runs to June 29 at the Empty Space on Fremont Ave. North.
The show-within-a-show has participants in of a Georgia high school reunion putting on a pageant featuring themselves as Wuthering Heights characters. The original story followed rough-hewn Heathcliff's revenge on the man who married his true love, Cathy. Composer Key will play Ed, a piano teacher roped into the proceedings. V. Joy Lee, Burton Curtis, Anthony Curry and Laureen Weedman comprise the remaining cast.
Levi Lee, who also directs, is the author of The Salvation Of Iggy Scrooge, Blood Orgy Of The Bermuda Triangle Zombie Assassins and Some Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends...A Final Evening With The Illuminati, which had an Off-Off-Broadway mounting in 1996. Key wrote the music for Iggy Scrooge and Empty Space's The School For Wives. Songs will range from bossa nova to Les Miz-style operatic.
Designing the musical are Regan Haines (set), Patrick Stovall (costumes) and Roberta Russell (lighting). The Empty Space theatre is best known as the first space outside Chicago to stage productions by David Mamet, back in the mid-1970s.
For tickets ($14-$24) and information on Wuthering! Heights! The! Musical!, May 23-June 28, call (206) 547-7500.
--By David Lefkowitz