Friday, July 22, 2011
Ragtime. Ring of Fire. Spamalot.
Those are three of the musicals that Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre will produce a year from now, as announced last night by Artistic Director Roger Welch. (Next summer's fourth slot is TBA.)
The musical version of Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow's 1975 novel about wealthy WASPs, impoverished Eastern European immigrants, political activists and persecuted African-Americans in the years leading up to (and including) World War I, appeared on Broadway in both 1998 and 2009. The book is by Terrence McNally, with lyrics and music by the songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. (Milos Forman's film premiered 30 years ago this November, starring the likes of Elizabeth McGovern, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Mary Steenburgen, Debbie Allen, Mandy Patinkin and many more.) A glance at the number of historical and fictional characters in Ragtime, the narrative (which is crowded with incident), and the show's three dozen musical numbers indicates that the CdA company is taking on a very ambitious show.
Ring of Fire is a Johnny Cash musical, with three dozen songs arranged by Richard Maltby Jr. into a sketch of three couples' lives — falling in love, growing old. It ran for a month on Broadway in the spring of 2006. Read Playbill's advance article about the show.
Spamalot, of course, is the Arthurian spoof musical. (It also finds its inspiration in 1975 — the year of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The musical is mostly Eric Idle's fault — he wrote the book and lyrics and collaborated on most of the music.) The original production of Spamalot ran for nearly four years (2005-09) and 1,600 performances on Broadway. Best of Broadway Spokane has scheduled a single performance of Spamalot for Nov. 11 at the INB Center. (The show's second, non-Equity national tour ended last month.)