Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of the new musical Death Takes a Holiday, directed by Tony® winner Doug Hughes (Doubt), adapted by Tony®-winning writers Peter Stone (1776) and Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray), and composed by Tony® winner Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic). Death Takes a Holiday is based on the dramatic play by Alberto Casella, rewritten for the American stage by Walter Ferris, and originally produced by Messrs. Shubert.
In Death Takes a Holiday, it's just after the first World War and the loneliest of souls arrives at an Italian villa disguised as a handsome young Prince (Ovenden), and for the first time experiences the joys and heartbreaks of life. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with a newly engaged young woman (Paice), the mysterious stranger discovers that love may in fact be stronger than death.
Death Takes a Holiday began performances on Friday, June 10, 2011 and opens officially on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. The cast includes Linda Balgord (Contessa Evangelina Di San Danielli), Matt Cavenaugh (Major Eric Fenton), Mara Davi (Alice Lamberti), Joy Hermalyn (Cora), Jay Jaski (Lorenzo), Simon Jones (Dr. Dario Albione), Rebecca Luker (Duchess Stephanie Lamberti), Patricia Noonan (Sophia), Julian Ovenden (Death/Prince Nikolai Sirki), Jill Paice (Grazia Lamberti), Michael Siberry (Duke Vittorio Lamberti), Alexandra Socha (Daisy Fenton), Don Stephenson (Fidele), and Max Von Essen (Corrado Montelli).
BroadwayWorld recently meet up with the cast and company to weigh in on their favorite Maury Yeston song in Death and in his greater body of work. See what the crew has to say below and in the accompanying video clip!
Doug Hughes (Director)
"New Words" from Maury's In The Beginning is a song that never fails to move me. It instantly conjures a situation that is both commonplace and wondrous. A parent teaching a child. It is simultaneously simple and profound. That combination always seems to be the highest achievement to me. Exquisite, deeply felt and universally appealing. I just love it.
To ask which is my favorite song from Death Takes A Holiday is ever so slightly unfair. They are Maury's children but I feel like their doting uncle and it is impossible for me to play favorites. I love the love duet that closes Act One - "Alone Here With You." Ingeniously conceived. Two lovers unite passionately over the text of a young girl's diary. Jill Paice and Julian Ovenden perform it so powerfully. Our Prince Sirki's "Alive"- a bravura work that is somehow both a patter song and an anthem to the great pleasure that can be extracted from the most mundane events is also superb and superbly performed by Julian. Just Exhilarating. "Finally To Know," a gorgeously harmonic trio about longing that the exceptional Ms Paice, Alexandra Socha, and Mara Davi perform also thrills me. But I feel similar exhilaration when I hear Matt Cavenaugh knock "Roberto's Eyes" out of the park on a nightly basis or listen to Rebecca Luker's brilliantly soulful performance of "Losing Roberto." Then there is the great rousing, sexy twenties dance number, "The Shimmy" that Julian and Mara put over with effortless mastery. I also just love the opening "Nothing Happened." It's a great calling card for the show-phenomenal musical story-telling. Elegant and compact, it manages to deliver both danger and pleasure simultaneously. This is an open-throated and open-hearted score; working with it reminds me of the pleasure I had when my mother would take me to Broadway musicals when I was a kid. Have I adequately demonstrated my inability to pick one song?