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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.