Musical Adaptation of 'DUDDY KRAVITZ' Begins Next Month at Segal Centre
The Segal Centre will close its blockbuster 2014-2015 Theatre Season with The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: The Musical, a world premiere musical adaptation of Mordecai Richler's novel and the feature film by the same name, from June 7-28, 2015. This new production boasts an original musical score by Alan Menken, the legendary Oscar and Tony winning composer of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, with book and lyrics by acclaimed lyricist-librettist David Spencer and direction by American theatre veteran Austin Pendleton. Presented with the generous support of RBC and Muse Entertainment.
The poignant Montreal coming of age story of ambitious scoundrel Duddy Kravitz, Canadian author Mordecai Richler's beloved anti-hero, will premiere as a brand new musical in the city where the story takes place.
At the invitation of the Segal Centre, multi-award winning American lyricist and librettist David Spencer (Weird Romance, New York's Public Theater's La Bohème) has adapted the book and song lyrics from Richler's 1959 novel and 1974 film version by the same name, paired with a sweeping musical score by American musical icon Alan Menken, best-known for his scores for such classic Disney films as Aladdin, Tangled and The Little Mermaid.
Menken has eleven Grammys, eight Oscars, seven Golden Globes and a Tony Award to his name. His current projects range from Newsies and Aladdin on Broadway (both adapted for the stage from his Disney films) and the live action feature adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle.
"To see the show premiere where the story takes place is a dream come true. This project has been a long time in the making, and it means a great deal to be bringing it to you," said Alan Menken.
"DUDDY may be the "realest" traditional musical anyone's ever seen. Even though it follows a larger-than-life main character on a grand quest, its urban universe and sensibility exist in what I'd call musical theatre vérité. There isn't anything in the musical repertoire quite like it," adds David Spencer.
Directing Duddy Kravitz is acclaimed Tony nominated American film, television, stage actor and director Austin Pendleton.
As an actor, Pendleton has appeared in more than 120 films and television shows including A Beautiful Mind, The Muppet Movie, My Cousin Vinny and "Oz". In his equally remarkable half-century theatre career, he has directed or performed alongside such big names as Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgard. His production of The Atlantic Theater's Between Riverside and Crazy recently earned the playwright Stephen Adly Giurgis the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Director.
Pendleton directs a 14-member cast featuring Ken James Stewart in the title role, George Masswohl as Max Kravitz and Montreal's Marie-Pierre de Brienne as Duddy's love interest, Yvette Durelle. Howard Jerome, seen in 2010's Barney's Version, also adapted from the Richler novel, makes his Segal Centre debut as Duddy's grandfather, Simcha Kravitz.
Adrian Marchuk, Victor Young, David Coomber, Sam Rosenthal, Michael Rudder, Kristian Truelsen, Albane Chateau, Gab Desmond, Julia Halfyard and Michael Daniel Murphy round off the stellar all-Canadian cast.
The creative team includes Jonathan Monro (Musical Direction), Dayna Tekatch (Choreography), Michael Eagan (Set & Costumes), Luc Prairie (Lighting), Peter Balov (Sound) and Nick Burgess (Assistant Musical Direction)
On the streets of 1950s Montreal, scrappy scoundrel Duddy Kravitz is on the cusp of adulthood and hustling to climb the social ladder. Obsessed with his grandfather's maxim "A man without land is nobody" and desperate to prove himself, he risks making his name at the expense of those he loves; it all comes down to choosing what kind of man he's going to be.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, widely considered an autobiographical memoire of Mordecai Richler's teenage years in Montreal's old Jewish neighborhood, established Richler as one of the country's greatest writers.
"Combining Richler's singularly vivid and human story with the unprecedented star power of its creators and an incredible all-Canadian musical cast is a momentous occasion in the Segal Centre's history, one whose roots are as rich and steeped in the community as the iconic novel," said Segal Centre Artistic Director Lisa Rubin.
A Yiddish musical adaptation of Duddy Kravitz (Music by Gary William Friedman, Lyrics by Edward Gallardo) was produced to great box office success by the Segal's esteemed Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre in 1997.