Monday, May 5, 2008

David in Shadow and Light, a new musical

David in Shadow and LightHere's quick press release for a show that looks interesting. I wonder if I'll make it down to DC in time catch the show.
(Washington, DC) — Theater J presents the world premiere of DAVID IN SHADOW AND LIGHT, a modern musical retelling of the biblical tale of King David by Yehuda Hyman and Daniel Hoffman. The show runs May 6–June 22, 2008 in the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the Washington DCJCC. Press night takes place Sunday, May 18 at 7:30 pm. Tuesday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 7 at 7:30 pm are Pay-What-You-Can Previews. For the extended preview period of Thursday, May 8, through Thursday, May 15, all tickets are $25. Full priced tickets range from $20 to $55 and are available at or at (800) 494-TIXS.

An epic musical of King David’s astonishing trajectory from boy shepherd to superstar ruler to aging king, as he wrestles with the lowest and the purest form of human impulses, this visually stunning production incorporates thrilling dance sequences and a post-modern frame through which the triumphs and travails of the Bible’s most charismatic character are brought to life. The earthy sexuality of the story—David’s marriage to both King Saul’s daughter Michal and his paramour Bathsheba, as well as the ardent love he shares with Saul’s son, Jonathan—combined with its portrait of blood, war and passion is at once relevant to a modern world and classically powerful. This re-envisioning is cleverly framed by two characters, the Archangel Metatron and Adam, who according to ancient midrashic legend, chance upon the infant David and are compelled to watch his life. In this musical version the story unfolds on film, the action of which plays out on stage as a live movie.

Theater J and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity commissioned Yehuda Hyman and Daniel Hoffman to create this piece almost four years ago with the support of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Since then it has been further developed through readings and workshops in the Arlene and Robert Kogod New Play Development Program at Theater J. “Why do a show about King David now?” Artistic Director Ari Roth asks and then answers “Because he was the biggest celebrity to ever walk the face of the earth. He had the greatest gifts, the highest charisma quotient, he was wildly popular, wildly romantic, rapacious, God-fearing, flesh-loving, a bollix of contradictions—how contemporary is that?” The modern depiction uses non-traditional casting to envision a David of color: a Tiger Woods-like natural phenomenon, “the Barack Obama of the Bible,” quips Roth. King David will be played by DC native and rising New York star Matt Pearson (tick, tick…Boom! at Metro Stage, The Slug Bearers of Karol Island at the Vineyard Theatre in New York).

This stellar cast also includes some of DC’s finest musical theater performers including 2008 Helen Hayes Award Nominees Will Gartshore as Jonathan, Donna Migliaccio as the Angel Metatron, Larry Redmond as Uriah, and Bobby Smith as King Saul. “The musical,” notes Roth, “will be the biggest undertaking in Theater J’s history. We’ve workshopped the play for several years and brought together a superb team to make this incredibly well-told story come alive with relevance and immediacy.” The cast will also include Russell Sunday as Goliath, Peggy Yates as Batsheva, Norman Aronovic as Adam, Matthew Anderson as Nathan and Carolyn Agan as Michal.

Theater J Resident Director Nick Olcott and Musical Director George Fulginiti-Shakar will lead a talented creative team. Composer and world-class klezmer violinist Daniel Hoffman will head the four-piece band. Peter DiMuro, Artistic Director of The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Dance Exchange company member Shula Strassfeld will choreograph. Three-time 2008 Helen Hayes Award nominee, Colin Bills will light a set designed by Misha Kaufman.
Update: I was just about to email Daniel Hoffman to ask if there were any audio or video clips of David in Light and Shadow that I could share, when I realized who Daniel Hoffman is. He is none other than the band leader for one of my favorite Jewish music groups, Davka. Davka is an amazing mix of Eastern European and Middle Eastern Jewish music and chamber music. That just doubled my interest in this show. I hope I can make it. You can read a previous Teruah post about Davka here.

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