by EJ Reyes and Thomas Sheehan


BACKGROUND

DORIAN GRAY, a new musical adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic novel from the team of Tom Sheehan (Book, Lyrics) and Edward Reyes (Music) had its world premiere production at the Open Stage Theatre in Fort Collins. Colorado (Denver Area).

With a cast of 21 directed by celebrated Los Angeles based director Jules Aaron, DORIAN GRAY opened on August 24,2002 at the Lincoln Center. DORIAN GRAY began as one of the first projects for the team of Reyes and Sheehan in New York City and was a finalist at the O'Neill Festival. It was presented first in readings twice in Los Angeles.

In 1997, DORIAN GRAY was selected for the Festival of Contemporary Musical Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado. After a freak flash flood devastated the rehearsal spaces in Fort Collins and forced the cancellation of the major part of the Festival, Reyes prevailed upon Open Stage Theatre, the host of the Festival, to present the show anyway. Jules Aaron, who had long been a champion of the piece, flew in to direct. DORIAN GRAY not only survived the flood, but flourished, and was performed there in two full concert staged readings.

In 1998, DORIAN GRAY was optioned by the Los Angeles arm of the Shubert organization and presented again in a staged reading at the Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles.

Then in 2002, Open Stage decided to mount a full-scale production of DORIAN GRAY as the opening piece in their 30th Anniversary Season.

SYNOPSIS

Dorian Gray, a young man, has his portrait painted by the artist, Basil Hallward. Tempted by Basil's old friend, the cynical Lord Henry, Dorian makes a wish that he remain forever young while the portrait ages. The wish is granted and the angel-faced Dorian now enters into a life of gradual dissipation. Soon student surpasses master. Dorian's lust for power leads him to acts of debauchery and degradation.

In the process, Dorian causes the suicide of a young actress with whom he has become infatuated, wrecks the lives of a multitude of others around him and ultimately commits murder. However, his features, year after year, retain the same youthful appearance of beautiful innocence, while the shame of his hideous vices becomes mirrored, year after year, in the features of his portrait.

Finally, with his life in ruins, drugged, isolated and alone he decides to destroy the now grotesque portrait. The painting immediately reverts to its original beauty, while Dorian, a skeleton, hangs suspended from the knife in the portrait's heart.

AUTHORS NOTE

In our adaptation we have given musical voice to the principal characters from the novel. We have combined and enlarged others: for example, Victoria, Henry's wife, now has a major role. We have also given the portrait itself a prominent place in the unfolding musical dialogue. Dorian has a series of musical interactions with the portrait that serve as signposts along his trajectory of evil.

Those who have died because of him reappear as ghosts, haunting him until the end. In addition, we have adopted a storytelling technique that plays with time and space, giving a somewhat cinematic flow and expression to the unfolding tale.

This a story that certainly rings true today in the light of the current culture of narcissism, the fascination with and fixation on youth and beauty, and the continuing themes of corruption and abuse of power.

 

"Sin with style and there are no consequences."

 
   

 

 

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