New Line Theatre Presents BLOODY KING OEDIPUS!, OR PARDON ME, MUM!
New Line Theatre, "the bad boy of musical theatre," continues its 29th season of adult, alternative musical theatre, with a one-night-only free public reading of Gilbert & Sullivan's BLOODY KING OEDIPUS!, or PARDON ME, MUM!, the hilarious, long-lost horror-comedy, on Monday night, January 6 at 8:00 pm at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepherd Drive, in the Grand Center Arts District. Bloody King Oedipus! contains adult language and content.
King Oedipus is already having a bad day, and here comes some REALLY bad news...!
All Oedipus wants is to lift the curse that's made his city sick, broke, and pissed off, but all these prophecies keep getting in the way! Could it be true that Oedipus killed the last king without realizing it? Is it possible he's married to his own mother? Does his name really mean "swollen foot"? Maybe Tiresias the Blind Seer knows the answers. But does Oedipus really want to know...?
After shocking the music and theatre worlds by rediscovering Gilbert & Sullivan's lost masterpiece The Zombies of Penzance in 2013, and then staging and publishing the controversial original opera in 2018; now New Line Theatre artistic director Scott Miller has done it once again. This time, Miller has unearthed Gilbert & Sullivan's even darker and funnier BLOODY KING OEDIPUS!, a comic horror opera no one even knew existed until now, based on Sophocles' iconic Greek tragedy of murder, incest, disfigurement, suicide, and lots of prophecies, which first premiered in 429 BC.
The legendary British team of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan together wrote fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896. Or is it sixteen? After rewriting their original Zombies of Penzance at the insistence of producer Richard D'Oyly Carte, the team premiered The Pirates of Penzance in 1879. Until now, scholars believed that their next project was the pastoral satire Patience. We now know that isn't true. After the huge success of HMS Pinafore and Pirates, the team decided to tackle something a bit weightier. According to personal papers found with the manuscript, it was Gilbert who suggested two unlikely possibilities, Dante's Inferno, and the classic Greek tragedy Oedipus the King, set in Thebes, a Greek city-state in the 13th century BC.
They both agreed Inferno would make a less than satisfying comic opera.
Gilbert stayed curiously faithful to the plot and characters of Sophocles' ancient tragedy for his opera - until the end of the show, when Gilbert evidently couldn't restrain himself from adding a comic, Gilbertian twist, upending everything that's come before, as usual. It's safe to say Sophocles would not have sanctioned Gilbert's much more comic ending. The score includes songs like "We've Been Very, Very Sick," "I Can See Now I Was Blind," "Now This is Quite Awkward," "So Our King Just Might Have Murdered Our Last King," and "He Hasn't Taken It Too Well."
And now, at long last, King Oedipus, Queen Jocasta, General Creon, Tiresias the Blind Seer, Milo the Herald, and all of Thebes will make their comic opera debut. Miller has painstakingly reassembled these rediscovered materials into their original form; and St. Louis composer and orchestrator John Gerdes is reconstructing Sullivan's music, after doing the same with The Zombies of Penzance.
New Line Theatre will present a reading of the rediscovered show Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, free and open to the public. The company has not yet announced a full production.
Dominic Dowdy-Windsor will play King Oedipus; with Kimi Short as Queen Jocasta; Kent Coffel as Gen. Creon; Sarah Porter as Manto; and Zachary Allen Farmer as Tiresias the Blind Seer and Milo the Herald and also Phorbus the Shepherd; with Mara Bollini, Robert Doyle, Melissa Felps, Evan Fornachon, Stephen Henley, Brittany Hester, Ann Hier, Matt Hill, Melanie Kozak, Ian McCreary, and Chris Moore. The reading will be directed by Scott Miller and music directed by Nicolas Valdez and Cullen Curth.
For other information, visit New Line Theatre's full-service website at www.newlinetheatre.com.