Photo Flash: Uzo Aduba, J.D. Goldblatt & More Lead VENICE At Kirk Douglas
The cast and designers have been set for the world premiere production of "Venice," which begins rehearsals September 7, 2010. The new musical with book by Eric Rosen, music by Matt Sax and lyrics by Matt Sax and Eric Rosen, and additional music by Curtis Moore, is presented by Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as a co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre. "Venice" opens on October 17 and continues through November 14. Previews begin October 7.
Under Rosen's direction, the cast of "Venice" features (in alphabetical order) Uzo Aduba, Erich Bergen, Rodrick Covington, J.D. Goldblatt, Andrea Goss, Javier Muñoz, Victoria Platt, Angela Wildflower Polk, Matt Sax, Alexander Selma, Donald Webber, Jr. and Morgan Weed.
Vocal arrangements and music direction are by Curtis Moore. Choreography is by John Carrafa and Tanisha Scott. The set and costume design is by Meghan Raham, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design, music production and incidental music by Joshua Horvath, and projection design by Jason H. Thompson. Casting is by Bonnie Grisan, CSA and Stephanie Klapper, CSA.
"Venice," a rich story of war, love, betrayal and the quest for peace, boasts a powerful score that fuses elements of hip-hop, R&B and opera. Set in a not-too-distant future, two brothers clash over how to save their city in the aftermath of a 20-year war. One brother seeks a new era of peace and restoration while the other tries to seize power by keeping the city mired in violence and by derailing his brother's upcoming marriage to a woman whose father had been the city's president in happier days.
"Venice" was commissioned by CTG and presented in public workshops as a part of DouglasPlus in April 2009. This production opened at Kansas City Repertory Theatre in April 2010. In his review, Richard Zoglin of TIME magazine said, "...the next major American musical could well be in the making...
"Venice," said Zoglin, is "[an] ambitious and expansive work, combining elements of Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, Brechtian allegory and dystopian political fable, all enhanced by rap narration and a melodic, rock-influenced score that is one of the most winning I have heard onstage in years."
Matt Sax and Eric Rosen were the creators of the one-man hip-hop musical "Clay," the fresh, intense coming of age story written and performed by Sax and directed by Rosen, and presented at the Douglas Theatre in September-October 2007.
Eric Rosen, who is the artistic director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre, is a playwright, director and producer. His original plays and musicals include "Winesburg, Ohio," for which he wrote the book and lyrics and he directed (Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for best new work, and five Barrymore Awards including best musical), "Dream Boy" (Jefferson Award for best direction and production), "Wedding Play," "Dancer from the Dance," "Whitman" and "Undone."
Matt Sax won a Joseph Jefferson Award for best solo performance for "Clay" in its presentation by Lookingglass Theatre and About Face Theatre. "Clay" was also presented at the Lincoln Center Theater where it received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sax also writes for and performs in the two-man, long-form sketch show "Sax and Dixon."
Tickets for "Venice" are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre or two hours prior to performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office.
The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.