Harold Prince has announced that Paradise Found, the musical he is to co-direct with Susan Stroman, will have its debut at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory – so says Variety‘s Richard Ouzounian, who got the news straight from the horse’s mouth at a recent Phantom of the Opera fan confab in Las Vegas.
Paradise Found is based on The Tale of the 1002nd Night, Joseph Roth’s novel about an impotent Shah (who would be played by John Cullum) whose eunuch (a role pegged for Mandy Patinkin) persuades his master to journey to Vienna. Once there, the Shah falls in love with the empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In the interview with Variety, Prince said that he expected to see Shuler Hensley, Judy Kaye and Emily Skinner in other leading roles, with rehearsals starting on 12 April prior to a seven week run before the show transferred to New York. The book for the musical has been written by Richard Nelson, with a score featuring music adapted by Jonathan Tunick from that of Johann Strauss II and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh.
There are two things that make me pause for thought when considering this project. I’ve never been a particular fan of the Song of Norway-style show, in which the music of a classical composer is adapted to create a musical theatre score. I think a new composer would have been a good thing: Adam Guettel is the one that immediately springs to my mind for this. The casting of dear Mandy Patinkin as the Shah’s eunuch doesn’t thrill me either; as the French say, I find him insupportable. Other than that, I find this show really intriguing and I’m waiting in anticipation to see how it develops.
Purchases from Amazon.com
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
1. The Tale of the 1002nd Night by Joseph Roth.