Monday, February 11, 2008

Who is that masked man?

I love how some things never in theater never die. They just keep coming up and up again. Like Lone Star Love. Is that over for good now? Maybe this last time buried it… maybe…

But this week we had Zorro, another one of my favorite “oh, it’s here again” musicals. Of course there were those dueling Zorro musicals in the late 1990s that did actually get done somewhere (I think). But then does everyone remember back in 2001 when Ricky Martin was reported to definitely be starring in the West End production of a different musical production of Zorro? Back then, John Gertz and Adam Kenwright had supposedly asked Robbie Williams to write the music. Remember?

Well, I’m just not sure if this is the same Zorro. I guess it is because Gertz and Kenwright were involved back then and they were involved now, as per Variety. So this is like the 5th team they’ve tried to get together? There was a reading of what I think was this version of the show last year in New York. The biggest name involved is now The Gipsy Kings.

But here is what confuses me—according to Playbill and a bunch of other sources the musical is based on Isabel Allende’s 2005 novel about Zorro. Now, other sources just have Allende “presenting” it. The show’s website doesn’t list her as a member of the creative team at all (though it does say she is producing the musical) and Stephen Clark is listed as the sole librettist and lyricist. (Note that at some point a few years ago Clark was on board just as lyricist and The Clearing scribe Helen Edmundson was writing the book—I don’t know what happened there.)

So does this mean everyone who is reporting that the musical is based on her novel is just suffering from sloppy reporting? Because then that clearly means this is all too confusing for the majority of people to follow. Well, it’s in these cases we’re lucky that like 200 people follow the theater this closely. No one will be confused because 20 people knew all this confusing background crap. Theater fans might remember the Ricky Martin thing, but probably not anymore. Though Allende is a best-selling offer… so maybe her fans will pay attention/care…. And therefore I guess there is a real question here.

My main point is—does the world really need this? Is this something they really needed to spend 8 years trying to get off the ground? Really? I hope it’s great, but…. Do we need more than one big budget musical with a masked man as its titular character? I know I don’t.

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