Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Commissions Musical Based on Anne Rice Novel CRY TO HEAVEN

By: Mar. 19, 2015
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The 5th Avenue Theatre has announced a major new musical commission. Based on the spell-binding novel by Anne Rice, Cry to Heaven is a dramatic new musical with music and lyrics by three-time Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Wilder and a book by Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal. The show will be developed through The 5th Avenue's New Works Program focusing on early stage cultivation of new musicals, one of seven musicals in various stages of development."Adapting Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven as a musical is a labor of love that has been close to my heart for more years than I care to count," said composer Matthew Wilder.

"Due to Anne's unwavering support and David Armstrong's belief in my inspiration, along with my friends and librettists, Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal, The 5th Avenue Theatre has commissioned us to complete the adaptation. I am filled with more hope and optimism than ever that this dream is finally going to be realized."

Based on Anne Rice's stunning third novel, Cry to Heaven brings to life the exquisite and otherworldly society of the 18th century castrati, the delicate and alluring male sopranos whose graceful bodies and glorious voices brought them the adulation of the royal courts and the grand opera houses of Europe. Cry to Heaven follows Tonio, a teenage boy betrayed by his brother and forced into a life he never expected-a public life of celebrity in the world of the castrati, and a private life devoted to revenge.

"I'm so thrilled because I love Matthew's music. I always have," said celebrated author Anne Rice. "He has written some beautiful songs based on my book. I'm excited to see his work completed, and to see my novel come to life on stage."

Composer/Lyricist Matthew Wilder has composed the score to two musicals: Princesses, which debuted at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in 2005 and Cry To Heaven, his musical adaptation of Anne Rice's novel.

As the composer (as well as a producer, singer and instrumentalist) for Disney's 36th animated feature Mulan, Wilder was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, and won the Annie Award for Best Music in an Animated Feature. The film's anthem, "Reflection," became the first hit for Christina Aguilera's debut album.

Launching his recording career as a songwriter and a performer, Matthew Wilder scored a worldwide hit with his 1983 single, "Break My Stride" from the epic album I Don't Speak The Language. His songs have been recorded by prominent artists including Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Aaron Neville, Billy Ray Cyrus, Puff Daddy, Matisyahu, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Cliff, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler and many more.

Wilder is also a top record producer, whose work includes No Doubt's hit album, Tragic Kingdom. He wrote, produced, performed, and engineered two multi-platinum albums for Miley Cyrus and went gold with Selena Gomez's debut album, Kiss and Tell. Wilder also wrote and produced songs for Cyrus's two films, Hannah Montana, Best Of Both Worlds and Hannah Montana: the Movie.

Book Writers Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal have acted as screenwriters for Sony, DreamWorks, Fox Searchlight, and Warner Brothers. Prior to that, the husband-wife duo were exclusive songwriters for EMI and BMG, with songs in such films as Top Gun, The Accused, and Donnie Brasco, as well as others recorded by Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Chicago, and many more, with numerous BMI Awards and multi-platinum sales certifications.

Additionally, Freirich adapted his novel, Winged Creatures (St. Martin's Press, 2008) for the 2009 film starring Dakota Fanning, Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Guy Pearce, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Hudson.

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