BWW Interviews: Paul Dale Vickers, Writer Of New Musical DE PROFUNDIS
The letters of Oscar Wilde to his young lover Bosie are the source material of a new musical, De Profundis, opening at the Leicester Square Theatre this week.
Writer Paul Dale Vickers was the winner of the theatre's inaugural New Musical Project, and as his prize gets a six-week run there.
"They were looking for one-act musicals, and I wrote De Profundis a couple of years ago - it fits that criterion, and has one performer as well," he says. "Then there were six selected, similar in length, and they were put forward for a professional reading. It was exciting, finally hearing it realised - it was just fantastic hearing it performed by Alastair Brookshaw [the show's solo performer]."
He wondered at the time whether he had written it from a performer's point of view (he previously played roles including Javert in Les Miserables) or whether it would have mass appeal.
"What the panel said was not to worry about that - it's for audiences to decide," he adds.
He'd like De Profundis to be seen in similar-sized studio spaces across the country, mentioning the West Yorkshire Playhouse, near to his home.
"It's an easily-performed piece - it's one person, it's short, it's limited in set requirements," he says, but adds that he'd also like to elaborate on the score a little, perhaps by orchestrating it for a string quartet.
And in the future, he has a few intriguing-sounding projects in the works - he mentions working on a piece about women's lives during the miners' strike.
He talks fascinatingly about the process of producing a new musical, and reflects on some of the problems with big-budget pieces that are now being seen in the West End.
"It's interesting - just when you think you have a handle on what people are into, the goalposts change. People say there's just jukebox musicals, but look at The Book of Mormon - it has its own integrity.
"There's room for small-scale theatre like my piece as well. Maybe there's a sub-genre of intimate musical theatre..."
De Profundis opens at the Lounge at the Leicester Square Theatre on May 1.