Coleman's Elaine's Domain Receives Private Read-Through Nov. 18
A.E. Hotchner, the librettist of the show, also wrote Everyone Come to Elaine's, the non-fiction book upon which the musical is based. Both were inspired by the charismatic real-life figure of Elaine Kaufman, who founded and ran the 88th Street dinery. The anniversary gathering is a sad occasion for Hotchner: "That's not something I look forward to, but I think somehow I've got to…accept the fact that he's not here anymore. It's very difficult. I still feel he's still around." While the show, in its current state, includes one song with music by Coleman and lyrics by Hotchner, the bulk of the musical's score will included trunk songs with Coleman's music set to Dorothy Fields' and Carolyn Leigh's lyrics. Coleman and Hotchner had previously collaborated on Welcome to the Club.
On November 21st, Lainie Kazan (who starred in the pre-Broadway production of Coleman's Seesaw) will team up with John Paul Almon for a private industry reading of the musical; Mary Mitchell-Campbell will be on piano. Kazan takes on the title role, while Almon plays all of the twelve male characters who figure in Elaine's life. As of yet, a director is not attached to the project and no productions have been finalized.
"It's my celebration of Elaine. I've taken stuff from the book, but I've dramatized it. I've obviously exaggerated some things, taken license with some things. It's really a tribute to her, in dramatic terms," stated Hotchner.
Elaine's Domain was one of a number of projects Coleman was working on when he passed away at the age of 75. The others were Pamela's First Musical (with book by Wendy Wasserstein and lyrics by David Zippel), The Great Ostrovsky (book and lyrics by Avery Corman) and In the Pocket (book by Larry Gelbart and lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman). Pamela's First Musical is saw its world premiere production at TheatreWorks in Northern California earlier this year, while The Great Ostrovsky was produced at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia in March of 2004. In the Pocket, which is the new title of Like Jazz, is likely to open on Broadway in the future.
Coleman enjoyed a long-lived, varied career, and was renowned for his versatility as a musical theatre composer. A child prodigy, he found fame as a pop tunesmith (teaming with lyricist Leigh for such hits as "Witchcraft") and as a jazz musician before setting his sights on the Broadway stage. Unlike other Broadway composers, Coleman often developed musical wanderlust and easily changed style from score to score. I Love My Wife made use of groovy 70s pop, On the Twentieth Century was a mock-operetta and City of Angels pulsed with the sounds of film noir and 40s jazz. Other Coleman shows include Wildcat, Little Me, Sweet Charity (which is regarded as his masterpiece and is currently in the midst of a drama-ridden revival), Seesaw, Barnum, the flop Welcome to the Club, The Will Rogers Follies and The Life. Exactly Like You, a rewrite of Welcome to the Club, received productions at Goodspeed and the York Theatre in the late 90's.
The score of Elaine's Domain will include Coleman and Leigh's pop hit "It Amazes Me" and "Patch, Patch, Patch" from an unproduced musical about Eleanor Roosevelt written with Dorothy Fields.