Industry Reading of THE VAMPIRE Musical Explores Mix of AI Tech and Human Artistry

The reading is on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.

By: May. 14, 2024
Industry Reading of THE VAMPIRE Musical Explores Mix of AI Tech and Human Artistry
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The cast has been announced for The Vampire, a new pop-rock musical based on Dion Boucicault's 1852 melodrama with book adapted by Patrick Finelli and Douglas Hall and music composed by Clint Randles. An experimental theatrical research project that has utilized AI to inspire the musical's lyrics directly from the original script The Vampire aims to discover what the outcomes will be for a musical crafted with a mix of AI and human artistry. An invitation-only staged reading of The Vampire will be held at OPERA America's National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor (bet. 28 and 29 Street) in NYC on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. Industry professionals may RSVP to paul@offoffpr.com.

Douglas Hall directs a cast of 14, including Ryan Andes* (Bway: Big Fish, Sweeney Todd/NY Philharmonic), Amani Clark, Wes Ehle*, Christian Harward*, Preston Kifer, Kaleb Lowe, Vivian Mai, Ailani Maldonado, Giselle Muise, Lukas Poost*, Alivia Quattrocki, Jade Roberts, Amillia Samuels, and Zach Schanne*. *Member, Actors' Equity Association

"Artificial Intelligence used in the creation of theatrical art is a complex and evolving topic that provokes strong reactions among artists, writers and composers, and demands careful consideration and discussion," said Finelli. "In our experimental research, we have used a customized AI agent to coax song lyrics from Boucicault's original script, incorporating them into our final libretto. We are eager to discover the outcomes of testing AI strategies in concert with human intervention and artistic choices helping us to understand its benefits and limitations. While AI gave us the impetus to move forward with the adaptation, Boucicault's imagination and keen sense of spectacle is the engine that animates the show, acted and voiced by professionals under the direction of accomplished theatre artists."

Pulled from historic archives, the staged reading of The Vampire marks the first time this melodrama will be seen in 170 years, and never in the United States. An AI agent helped craft the musical's lyrics directly from the original script, which remained untouched until now. Dr. Clint Randles has finely-tuned the lyrics and composed the music in a pop-rock musical style. Plans are for a fully-staged production in the Fall with an immersive AI visual environment created by Jason Jamerson.

Brimming with a potent mix of Gothic ambiance, supernatural intrigue, horror, romance, and suspense, The Vampire unfolds over three centuries, beginning in 1660 amid the celebrated return of Charles II to the throne. Lucy Peveril arrives at a village pub seeking guidance to the ruins of Raby Castle, where she hopes to reunite with her endangered beloved Roland. Despite villagers' dire warnings, they decide to brave the night in the ominous castle, where they encounter a mysterious stranger, Alan Raby, also known as Gervase Rookwood. The play delves into the psychological manipulation by Rookwood, representing the destructive power of influence and control over one's destiny. The interplay between the characters and the setting amplifies the sense of a looming, inescapable fate. In 1760, we are transported to a restored Raby Hall, where Alan's haunting influence grows amid strange manifestations and portraits of his victims. In the town of Raby Peveril in 1860, the drama blends historical references with a gothic atmosphere, exploring themes of the supernatural, family curses, and the haunting weight of the past. The play ends with a confrontation at the clock tower as it strikes midnight, the hour which determines whether the vampire's curse will be renewed for another century. As forces converge endeavoring to break the Raby family curse, we may question our inescapable destiny, the triumph of redemption, and the power of self-sacrifice.

Patrick M. Finelli, Ph.D. (producer/dramaturg/book/lyrics(with AI)) - With a history of experimenting with computer technology in the arts, Dr. Finelli is a professor in the School of Theatre & Dance at the University of South Florida. He earned his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. His publications include books, reviews, and over 300 articles and software reviews. His academic research has been published in Theatre Journal, Performing Arts Resources, Southern Theatre, Theatre Design & Technology and New England Theatre Journal. As a scholar, he has presented at professional conferences in China (Shanghai Theatre Institute), Grand Cayman, the United Kingdom (University of Kent), the Netherlands Theatre Institute (Amsterdam), and the University of Utrecht. He has traveled widely throughout Europe, Asia and Oceania, and directed study abroad programs in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and the West Indies. More recently, he curated a traveling exhibit of the scenic designs of Oliver Smith, from the painted drops of Camelot, Take Me Along and On the Town to the unit settings of Night of the Iguana and Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Website

Clint Randles, Ph.D. (music) is Professor of Music Education, Co-Director of Contemporary Commercial Music at the University of South Florida School of Music. Dr. Randles is both an award-winning composer/songwriter and recipient of the 2015 Michael L. Mark Music Research Award for outstanding research by an early career scholar/researcher, issued by the University of Michigan. Randles teaches "Creative Performance Chamber Ensemble" for music education majors and directs the "Holly Drive Collective" for CCM students at the undergraduate level, and "Creativity Conceptions" and "Directed Research" at the graduate level for students in the College of the Arts since 2010. He also teaches classes for students with disabilities in a community music outreach sponsored by Arts4All Florida. A Michigan native, Randles received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and both his Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education degrees from Michigan State University. Website.

Douglas Hall (director) is a director, actor and teacher whose students currently work on Broadway, television and film. He has directed at theatres across the country including The Williamstown Theater Festival, the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Merry Go Round Playhouse, Mountain Playhouse, and Seven Angels Theater. He directed the New York premiere of The Religion Thing (Project Y Theater Company), and the regional premiere of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival). Other credits include an award-winning production of Daddy Long Legs at freeFall Theater, multiple casts of Forever Plaid, Merrily We Roll Along, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and Always...Patsy Cline (starring Sally Mayes). He spent ten years on the acting faculty at NYU/CAP 21 in New York City, has worked at Elon University, Pace University and the University of South Florida where he directed the USF Theatre in Paris program. He is currently on the faculty of Musiktheater Bavaria and The University of North Carolina.

Special thanks to Matthew Knight, Ph.D., curator of the Boucicault Collection at the University of South Florida who painstakingly transcribed the original manuscript, inviting The Vampire into our lives.

The University of South Florida College of the Arts (Office of Research) provided partial financial support for this production.



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