Altar Boyz Director Will Focus Bright Lights for Prince Music Theater

News   Altar Boyz Director Will Focus Bright Lights for Prince Music Theater
Stafford Arima, the rising director of Altar Boyz and London and Paper Mill Playhouse's Ragtime, will stage the premiere of the recently-revised musical, Bright Lights, Big City, in Philadelphia this summer.

The rock musical with music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman is based on the novel by Jay McInerney. The score and approach to the story have been revised since its 1999 world premiere at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. Scottish Goodman was a singing narrator character in his own piece back then, sharing thoughts on success, excess and New York as the cast of characters played out the McInerney tale of a young wastrel lost in Manhattan in the 1980s.

Goodman's presence in the work was excised in subsequent rewrites. The new score was recorded for a world premiere album on the Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom label, and some tweaks have been made to the piece since the album's release in 2005, Arima told

Prince Music Theater in Philly offers the first staging of the "new" Bright Lights, Big City, June 14-July 2.

According to Prince, "It's 1984. Fresh off the bus from Kansas, Jamie works as a fact-checker for a major New York magazine. His wife, a fast-rising super-model, just left him; he's still reeling from the death of his mother a year earlier. He plunges into a New York night life of partying, drinking, and drugs with his glib best friend, and as a result he's on the verge of getting fired. A uniquely moving and touching coming-of-age story, Bright Lights, Big City is set against the backdrop of the excessive yet glossy chaos of the 1980's. Composer Paul Scott Goodman has created a pop and rock infused score that generates a strong musical heartbeat for the hit novella and movie…"

No casting has been announced. The cast will number 11. Choreography will be by Andrew Palermo. Musical director will be Jesse Vargas. The design team includes Todd Ivins (set), Tyler Micoleau (lighting) and Karen Ann Ledger (costumes).

Arima said the staging will be "abstract," "universal" and "timeless" despite the 1984 setting. "It'll be a much more abstracted presentation versus a literal experience," he told

On Arima's 2006-07 agenda is directing A Little Night Music for California Music Circus in Sacramento and the world premiere of the musical, Ace, a co-production between Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (starting Sept. 6) and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

For more information about Prince Music Theater, which will premiere Cole Porter's The Pirate May 6, visit

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