The House of Martin Guerre, a musical adaptation of the Guerre saga that played in Chicago in 1996, is getting a second major production, this one at Canadian Stage Company in Toronto.
It was announced as part of CSC's 1997-98 season for the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts.
The season opens Sept. 22 with a The House of Martin Guerre -- to to be confused with Cameron Mackintosh's Martin Guerre currently on the boards in London. This North American Guerre has music and lyrics by Canadian Leslie Arden, with a book by Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio. The story is based on a true story from 16th. century France. The recent premiere in Chicago's Goodman Theatre won rave reviews, and The House of Martin Guerre was named the best musical at Chicago's Jefferson Awards. Patricia Ney, spokesperson for Arden, said producers have expressed interest in doing the show elsewhere in the U.S. as well, and that an announcement will likely be forthcoming before the end of 1997.
The Chicago production earned rapturous reviews. The press representative for the show (Cindy Bandle), the representative for lyricist and composer Leslie Arden (Patricia Ney), the representative for librettist Anna Theresa Cascio (George Lane) and the Goodman Theatre all said they believe and expect that the show will go on. Talks have been started, they said, although no cities have been set as starting spots.
"We're keeping the sets and the costumes. I'm sure that it will have another life, we just don't know where yet," the rep said. The Chicago production featured actors Anthony Crivello, Julian Molnar and Hollis Resnik. The book was written by Leslie Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio, and the music and lyrics by Ms. Arden.
The House of Marting Guerre was directed by Goodman resident director and veteran David Petrarca, who is not one to have his work stay put. In fall of 1995 his world premiere production of Sin by Wendy MacLeod moved from the Goodman to the Second Stage Theatre off Broadway. He has also directed for Seattle Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Livent, the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., Midwest Playlabs, and, most recently, ACT in San Francisco (Dark Rapture). Perhaps his most well-known production to date was his production of Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson which moved from the Goodman Mainstage to the Hartford Stage, The Kennedy Center, Playwright's Horizons, off-Broadway's Minetta Lane (Outer Critics Circle nomination), Hampstead Theatre (London Fringe Award nomination) and to London's West End.
Also on the 1997-98 season for Canadian Stage Company:
Opening Nov. 3 is the next episode of the Wingfield saga, Wingfield Unbound, by Dan Needles, and starring Rod Beattie. Walt Wingfield tries to preserve the local rural township by convincing the locals to restore the crumbling Hollyhock Mill. (Premieres at the Stratford Festival, summer of '97.)
The first production of '98 runs Jan. 5-Feb. 7. A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee. A co-production with Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, AB, the show stars Fiona Reed and Neil Munroe in this play which won the 1996 Tony for 'Best revival'.
Feb. 16 brings us to the opening of Molly Sweeney, by Brian Friel, (author of Dancing at Lughnasa) and starring R.H. Thomson, best known for his portrayal of Sir Frederick Banting in the TV mini-series "And Glory For All". Molly Sweeney is a lyrical drama, and uses a storytellers art to create the life of Molly Sweeney, who regains her sight after a lifetime of blindness. A co-production with The Grand Theatre, London, ON. The show runs until Mar 21.
Closing out the season is Claptrap, a co production with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Written by Tom Wood, and directed by Bob Baker, Claptrap is a comic-satire piece from the same pen as wrote B-Movie, The Play. The show opens April 6 and runs to May 9.
The Canadian Stage Box Office phone number is: (416) 368-3110
-- By Ray Ellicock
Theatre News Canada