AUDIO: Listen to 'Symphony of Sorrow' from Leicester Square's DE PROFUNDIS, Opening Tomorrow
De Profundis, a new musical by Paul Dale Vickers, based on the letter playwright Oscar Wilde wrote to his young lover, Bosie, from his prison cell in Reading jail in 1897, has won Leicester Square Theatre's The New Musical Project, and will premiere in a six-week season in The Lounge at Leicester Square Theatre now through Sunday 8 June. Scroll down to hear a preview of Alastair Brookshaw as Oscar Wilde singing "Symphony of Sorrow" from the show!
De Profundis is directed by Stuart Saint. Michael Riley is Musical Director.
Composer Paul Dale Vickers has taken Wilde's 50,000-word letter (Latin translation "from the depths") and set the words of one of English literature's greatest wordsmiths to a stunning score to tell a story of love, loss and freedom.
"I first read De Profundis when I was at drama school over 20 years ago and was immediately drawn to the obvious sense of drama within the letter," he says. "I created a short 'non-musical' version and then left it. When I came back to it, many years later, I realised that it had potential as a sung-through piece of theatre. I was always fascinated by Wilde's ability to forgive, his intense love for Bosie and how he used writing as a form of therapy. At the beginning of the letter he is full of anger; he then agonises over Bosie's nature and how he could have been complicit in Wilde's downfall; then, towards the end of the letter he offers staggeringly profound observations on the nature of forgiveness and, as he puts it, 'the meaning of Sorrow and its beauty'. For this musical version I let the rhythm of the words themselves dictate the shape of the music and allowed the sentiment to drive the chords and melodies. Much of the lyrical content is taken directly from the letter with some invention required to tie ideas together. De Profundis is a piece of musical theatre in the conventional sense; however, I am experimenting with form in terms of structure as the piece is essentially an elaborate soliloquy."
Vickers entered De Profundis in Leicester Square Theatre's The New Musical Project and it is the inaugural winner. The New Musical Project was set up to to discover and nurture a new British musical that showed great writing talent. On offer was a process of mentoring and rehearsals that would ultimately lead to a fully staged show for the winner in the Lounge at Leicester Square Theatre. More than 100 musicals were received and considered. Six projects were chosen as finalists and showcases of them were produced and directed by Stuart Saint and Katie Pesskin. The Project involved 27 actors, 18 panellists, 180 hours of rehearsal, and six public readings, which were attended by 300 members of the public.
Alastair Brookshaw received rave reviews for his starring role as Leo Frank in the critically acclaimed production of the musical Parade at Southwark Playhouse. Immediately following the sold-out run he played the role again, this time in a production at the Jerusalem Theatre in Israel. Alastair's West End work includes Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre and Blood Brothers at the Phoenix, with him understudying Eddie. He was in Craig Revel Horwood's revival of Hot Mikado at the Watermill Theatre, and he was a vocalist in the dance musical Shoes at Sadler's Wells. His other musicals include The Carnival of the Animals (Riverside), Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory (Phoenix Arts), Putting It Together and Notes from New York. He was also in Bed & Sofa at the Finborough and A Winter's Tale (Landor).
Paul Dale Vickers originally trained as an actor, graduating from Bretton Hall, Leeds University. Significant credits include understudying and playing the role of Jean Valjean in the West End production of LES MISERABLES, James in the 2000 film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar and Michael in the BAFTA award winning TV drama Cops. He then diversified and turned his hand to composing for theatre; noticeable collaborations are with pioneering British artists Lone Twin on the Catastrophe Trilogy at theBarbican, London and with the NHS on a children's musical, DR TV. Paul also has a MA in Contemporary Theatre Practice and is an experienced lecturer in Musical Theatre; he has taught on a number of degree programmes. More recently Paul performed in the LES MISERABLES 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 arena and performed vocals on the recent film version.
Remaining performances of De Profundis are Saturday 10 May at 7.00pm, Sunday 11 May at 4.00pm, Tuesday 13 - Saturday 17 May at 7.00pm, Sunday 18 May at 4.00pm, Tuesday 20 - Saturday 24 May at 7.00pm, Sunday 25 May at 4.00pm, Tuesday 27 - Saturday 31 May at 7.00pm, Sunday 1 June at 4.00pm, Tuesday 3rd June at 3.00pm, Wednesday 4 June at 8.30pm, Thursday 5 - Saturday 7 June at 7.00pm, and Sunday 8 June at 4.00pm. Tickets are £15.50 Tuesday to Thursday and £18.50 Friday to Sunday. The can be purchased by calling the box office at 08448 733433 or by visiting www.leicestersquaretheatre.com.
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