Spring Awakening Team's New Musical Nightingale Nixed from La Jolla Lineup

News   Spring Awakening Team's New Musical Nightingale Nixed from La Jolla Lineup
The Nightingale, a musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater — creators of Broadway's Spring Awakening — has been withdrawn from the upcoming La Jolla Playhouse season.

Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik Photo by Ben Strothmann

Previously announced to play as part of the Page to Stage New Play Development Program, the La Jolla run has now been canceled "due to scheduling conflicts," according to a release.

"We were incredibly excited to work with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik," explained La Jolla artistic director Des McAnuff. "However, with the planning of our season came a very busy time for this powerhouse creative team. With the success of Spring Awakening, their schedules became incredibly hectic, and we just aren't able to make our respective schedules mesh. We remain very interested in their work, and it is possible we will be in talks to do this project in the future. But for now, we just couldn't get the timing right. We wish them the best of luck."

Book writer-lyricist Sater and composer Sheik were struck by inspiration while penning their current Broadway musical Spring Awakening and teamed on the magical tale that follows "the Young Emperor of Ancient China [who] learns of an ordinary nightingale whose song brings hope to the lives of the common people living outside the walls of the Forbidden City" and ventures out of his court to see "the wonders of his realm with the nightingale and her protector, a young servant girl."

The work was commissioned from producer Martin McCallum and workshopped at the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference in 2003. McAnuff and La Jolla became involved, and a second workshop was held in New York City in December 2005.

The Nightingale was worked on recently at TheatreWorks' fifth annual Writers' Retreat (Jan. 22-28) in Palo Alto, CA. The event — which supplies performers and accompanists to try arrangements, and a musical director to help guide the creative process — culminated with an invitation-only performance of selections. The duo have also collaborated on Nero (Another Golden Rome), a Sater work with songs by Sheik that was seen as part of the Magic Theatre's Hot House Festival in March 2006 in San Francisco.

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