REBECCA to Open on Broadway April 2012; Blakemore, Zambello, Daniele Join Team; Boggess Likely to Star
Producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, in association with Tony Fusco and Larry Feinman, and by special arrangement with/and based on the Vereinigte Buhnen Wien GmbH production, announced that the new musical REBECCA, based on the classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier novel, will open on Broadway Sunday, April 22 at a Shubert theater to be announced. Previews will begin Tuesday, March 27. Sierra Boggess (currently starring in Master Class, The Little Mermaid, Love Never Dies) is in negotiations to play the role of "I."
REBECCA features original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard), English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze, and direction by Tony Award-winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; City of Angeles; Noises Off) and Francesca Zambello (Little Mermaid). Multiple Tony-nominated director/choregrapher Graciela Daniele (Ragtime) is in advance negotiations to do the musical staging for the show.
Based on the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel (and later turned into an Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchcock), REBECCA is the story of Maxim de Winter, his new wife ("I") and Mrs. Danvers, the controlling and manipulative housekeeper of Maxim's West Country estate of Manderley - where the memory of his first wife, the glamorous and mysterious Rebecca, still casts a shadow.
REBECCA had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses for more than three years. Vastly successful productions of REBECCA have also played Budapest, Hungary; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo.
Michael Blakemore (Director) is the only director ever to win Tony Awards for both a play, Copenhagen and a musical Kiss Me Kate in the same year. Other accolades include three Drama Desk Awards and Tony nominations for Joe Egg, Noises Off, City of Angels, Lettice and Lovage and The Life. He was recently represented on Broadway with Democracy, Duece, Is He Dead? and Blithe Spirit. For Off-Broadway, Mr. Blakemore directed Death Defying Acts a series of one act plays written by Woody Allen, Elaine May and David Mamet. In England, he was Laurence Olivier's associate at The National Theatre and directed him in Long Day's Journey into Night. Mr. Blakemore's National Theatre productions include Democracy, Copenhagen, Afterlife, Cherry Orchard and Arthur Miller's After the Fall. His West End successes include Three Sisters, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, The Resistible Rise of Arthur Ui, Forget Me Not Lane, Design for Living, Knuckles, Separate Tables, All my Sons, Noises Off, Benefactors, Lettice and Lovage, Uncle Vanya, The Sisters Rosenzweig and Afterlife. For the RSC, he directed Privates on Parade (also the film) and for the Welsh National Opera, he directed Tosca, a production he repeated in Adelaide and Houston. At the Royal Court, he directed Don's Party and George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses. He wrote and directed two films, Country Life and A Personal History of the Australian Surf. His books include a novel, Next Season currently published by Applause Books and his recently published memoir, Arguments with England published by Faber. Mr. Blakemore is the recipient of an OBE (Order of the British Empire).
Francesca Zambello (Director). General and Artistic Director of the Glimmerglass Festival. Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center's Washington National Opera. Former Artistic Advisor of San Francisco Opera, where she has recently directed a new production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, for National USA tours, BAM, the Guthrie Theater, Vienna's Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, Sydney Festival, Disneyland, Berlin's Theater des Westens and at the Kennedy Center. Her work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi, Covent Garden, the Munich Staatsoper, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and English National Opera. She has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture, and the Russian Federation's medal for ServIce To Culture. Her theatrical honors include three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French Grand Prix des Critiques, Helpmann Award, Green Room Award, Palme d'Or in Germany and the Golden Mask in Russia. She began her career as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Juilliard and Yale. www.francescazambello.com.
Sylvester Levay (Music & Orchestrations) was born in Maria Theresiopolis (Subotica) and is of Hungarian descent. His mother was a music teacher and his father a jounalist and novelist. Sylvester studied composition, piano, and clarinet. At the age of fifteen he won his first composition competition. He left his home town in 1962 to become a professional musician, and toured for ten years through Europe as a member of different orchestras, until he settled in Munich in 1972. Working as a keyboardplayer, arranger, composer and a conductor in recording studios, he met Michael Kunze in the mid-seventies. Together they wrote and produced world hits like"Fly Robin Fly", "Get up and Boogie" - Silver Convention, Lady Bump - Penny McLean and various other records. For "Fly Robin Fly", Levay and Kunze received a Grammy Award. Between 1977 and 1980 he wrote and produced songs for Elton John, Donna Summer, Herbie Mann and Sister Sledge. Sylvester composed, orchestrated and conducted all his works by himself. He plays different instruments such as piano, organ, saxophone, clarinet, and flute. In the 1980s Sylvester lived in Los Angeles where he worked as a film composer for Hollywood studios. He collaborated with Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, George Lucas, Sylvester Stallone, Whoopie Goldberg, Peter O´Toole and Steven Spielberg. He composed music for Films such as Cobra with - Sylvester Stalone, Hot Shots - with Charlie Sheen, Burglar - with Whoopie Goldberg, Touch and Go - with Michael Keaton, Creator - with Peter O' Toole, Flashdance - with Jennifer Beals, and many more. During that time Sylvester has created the music for more than 100 American feature and television movies. He is a member of the national Academy of Recording Art & Sciences (NARAS) and the Academy of Television Art & Sciences (ATAS). He also held lectures on film composition at the American Universities UCLA and USC. Starting from the 90s Sylvester Levay dedicated himself to the world of musical theater. Together with Michael Kunze he created the musical Witches, Witches in 1991. In 1992, they presented their second musical production Elisabeth in the Viennese Theater an der Wien. Elisabeth has been performed ever since in countries such as Japan, Nederlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. By now the show has become the most succesful German-language musical of all times. Kunze & Levay's third musical Mozart! premiered in 1999. With the drama-musical Rebecca, Sylvester continued the successful collaboration with Michael Kunze. It opened in Vienna in 2006. Their latest work Marie Antoinette had it's world premiere in November 2007 in Tokyo/Japan; a German production opened in early 2009.
Christopher Hampton (Translation/Adaptation & English Lyrics). Christopher Hampton's plays, musicals and translations have garnered three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, four Evening Standard awards and the New York Theatre Critics Circle Award while prizes for his film and television work include an Academy Award, two BAFTAs, a Writer's Guild of America Award, the Prix Italia, a Special Jury Award at the Cannes film festival, Hollywood Screenwriter of the Year 2007 and The Collateral Award at the Venice Film Festival for Best Literary Adaptation. His plays include Embers (2006 Duke of York's Theatre) and the following at the Royal National Theatre - The Talking Cure (2002), Alice's Adventure's Under Ground (1994), White Chameleon (1991) and Tales from Hollywood (1983); Les Liaisons Dangereuses which began at the R.S.C.'s Other Place in Stratford in Sept 1985 and subsequently ran at the Ambassadors Theatre for over five years; Treats (1976), Savages (1973), The Philanthropist (1970), all of which transferred from The Royal Court Theatre to the West End, where the Philanthropist ran for more than 1100 performances; Total Eclipse (1968) and When Did You Last See your Mother? (1966) also at The Royal Court Theatre, the last of which, when it transferred, made him the youngest playwright ever to have a play in the West End, a record which still stands. He has written (with Don Black) the book and lyrics for two musicals - Dracula (2004) with music by Frank Wildhorn and Sunset Boulevard (1992) with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; and the libretto for two operas Appomattox (2007, San Francisco Opera House) and Waiting For The Barbarians (2005 Erfurt, Germany) both with music by Philip Glass. His translations include: from Chekhov, The Seagull (2007, Royal Court), Three Sisters (A.T.G, 2003) and Uncle Vanya (1970, Royal Court); from Ibsen An Enemy of the People (1997), The Wild Duck (1979), and Hedda Gabler (1970) all at the Royal National Theatre; Ghosts for the Actor's Company (1978) and A Doll's House (1971) with Claire Bloom on Broadway and in the West End, subsequently filmed (1973); from Odon von Horvath Tales From The Vienna Woods (1977) and Don Juan Comes Back From The War (1978) at the Royal National Theatre and Faith, Hope and Charity (1978) at the Lyric, Hammersmith; and from Yasmina Reza Life x 3 (2000) at the Royal National Theatre, Conversations After a Burial (2000) at the Almeida, The Unexpected Man (1994) at the R.S.C. and Art which opened at Wyndham's in Oct 1996 and ran for over 2500 performances. Screenplays include: Atonement (2007), The Quiet American (2002), Mary Reilly (1996), Total Eclipse (1995), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Good Father (1986) and The Honorary Consul (1983). He has also written and directed three films: Imagining Argentina (2004), The Secret Agent (1996) and Carrington (1995).
Michael Kunze (Original Book & Lyrics) grew up in Munich, where he studied law, history and philosophy. In the late 1960s, he started to write pop songs, and soon became one of the best known songwriters of Germany. As a producer of first international acts, he hit the top of both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in the US and was the first German ever to win the coveted Grammy Award. At the top of his success, he wrote a book on the witch hunt, "Highroad to the Stake", that not only was awarded the 1981 Faculty Prize by the Munich University Law School, but also was translated into several languages. It was highly praised in a two-page review in the New York Times Book Review Supplement. Collaborating with Roman Polanski (director) and Jim Steinman (composer), Michael wrote his first English libretto and lyrics for the musical Dance of the Vampires. A German version opened in October 1997 at the Viennese Raimund Theatre to raving reviews and became an international hit. An unauthorized and mutilated version that ran
on Broadway for a few months could not stop the international success of the original. Michael's next hit was Mozart! (music by Sylvester Levay; director: Harry Kupfer) a show about Mozart‘s dramatic life. In 2006 his Rebecca premiered at Vienna‘s Raimund Theatre. It became the number one musical of 2007 (97 % average attendance, best musical poll of musicals magazine). Marie Antoinettte, a musical dramatizing the events of the French Revolution, had a grand opening in Tokyo‘s most prestigious Imperial Theatre on November 1, 2006. Its European production premiered in 2009 at the Bremen Musical Theatre. His hit shows Elisabeth, Dance of the Vampires, Morzart!, Rebecca and Marie Antoinette have reached an audience of more than 20 million people in many countries. The worldwide box office gross of his works has passed the $1 billion mark. As a lyricist he has created more than 200 chart songs and was honoured with a Grammy and an Echo Lifetime Award. He also wrote several books. His musicals are regarded the foundation of a new genre of the contemporary popular musical theatre, called the Drama Musical. As an adaptor, he has been connected to the success of many international shows in the German-speaking countries, among them Follies, Evita, Cats, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, Company, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sunset Boulevard, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King, Aida, Mamma Mia and Wicked. In addition to his Grammy, Michael holds an Echo Lifetime Award, 79 Gold and Platinum Records, 3 Golden Europe Awards, 2 Best Musicals Awards (Image1996 and Image 1998), Musical Of The Year Award 2000 (Mozart!), 2001 (Elisabeth), 2003 (Dance Of The Vampires), 2007 (Rebecca). Michael is a member of GEMA, Deutsche Dramatiker Union and The Dramatists Guild, Inc. New York.