Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lady Windermere's Musicals

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Oscar Wilde’s comedy Lady Windermere’s Fan debuted in 1892. At that time, the American musical was still in its infancy. It’s probably safe to say that Wilde never though of the four-act comedy as a musical. That didn’t stop Noel Coward from adapting the thing into After the Ball over half a decade later in 1954. It was his last musical to debut in the West End. At the time Coward wrote it, he considered its lyrics to be some of the best he’d ever written. In spite of this, it does not appear to have been one of his more popular works. Still, it takes quite a bit of courage to try to do what a guy of Coward’s stature has already done and not seem redundant. . . and there are a few people on faculty at a couple of local colleges looking to pull it off.

Just over half a decade after After The Ball’s premiere, Jan Nelson-Gomper, Wisconsin Lutheran College’s director of theatre programming has received a mini-grant from the college’s faculty development committee to adapt Wilde’s play into a wholly new musical. Nelson-Gomper has written music and lyrics. Concordia University’s Dr. David Eggebrecht has adapted the script.

A group of Wisconsin Lutheran College students will be performing a staged reading of the adaptation at WLC’s Raabe Theatre on April 27th at 7pm. The reading is free and open to the public.

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