Composer and lyricist Mark Weiser will hold a reading of his new musical, Ivanhoe, on June 19 at 7 PM. Based on Walter Scott's 1819 Novel, Weiser's Ivanhoe is a swashbuckling adventure that explores post-Crusade, Plantagenet Themes with a decidedly poignant twist.
As reported earlier, an April 15 fundraiser at The Salon (45 Bleecker Street) provided essential support for the reading of Ivanhoe. In addition, Weiser now tells Playbill On Line, the Culture Project helped sponsor the June 19 event.
"I've adapted the novel," Weiser said, "and rather than using The Scarlet Pimpernel or Robin Hood and any number of other source works, I chose this one because it contains two strong, dominant jewish characters -- Isaac of York and his beautiful daughter, Rebecca."
Weiser was intrigued by the idea of the father and daughter struggling to eke out a living while straddling the fence between the Normans and Saxons, both driven by their desire for Rebecca, who is written as "the most beautiful girl in all England."
"Rebecca is a prototypical Disney ingenue -- 17 going on 30," Weiser said. "She's well-educated but sheltered by her widowed and over-protective father. The fact that she's jewish lends a whole religious angle to the story." The director of the reading is Will Pomerantz (Culture Project's artistic director), musical director is Jana Zielonka (Piano In The Dead). Weiser (The Cure) is the show's composer, lyricist and librettist.
The cast for the reading includes Richard True (Che' in the Evita tour) as Ivanhoe, Jeanne Goodman as Rebecca, Matt Farnsworth (Capt. Walker In Broadway's Tommy) as Brian Guilbert, Guy Lamonnier as Cedric, James Hay as Isaac Of York, Michael B. Washington (Ted in the premiere of Saturday Night) as Wamba, Amanda Serkasevich as Rowena, Tim Carosi as Prince John, Rudy Martinez as Lucas De Beaumanoir, Pete Mastronardi (Tony n' Tina's Wedding) as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Davis Kirby (title role in tour production of Tommy) as Robin Hood, Andrew Gitzy as Oswald and Susan Prep (singer for Enrique Iglesias) as Elgitha.
"Those are the guys I listen to," Weiser said, "because those are the guys who started bridging the gap between a pop form of music and incorporating that style into theatre.
One of Weiser's earlier works, The Cure featured a modern style itself, but Ivanhoe represents a new direction for the composer. "I grew up as a dance music and rock and roll/pop writer," Weiser said. "Ivanhoe is my attempt at a more mainstream project."
Admission is free. Ivanhoe will be read at The Salon, locate at 45 Bleecker. For further information and reservations contact Mark Weiser at (212) 673-4813 or e mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride