A Dream of Kings, a New Musical
Dream of Kings, a New Musical

Fourth Street Theater, 125 N 4th Street, Chesterton, IN.

Book and Lyrics by Harry Mark Petrakis and Dan Schaaf
Music by Dan Schaaf

The first public reading of the new musical ‘A Dream of Kings' was at the Fourth Street Theater in Chesterton, IN. The musical is based on the celebrated novel by Chicago author Harry Mark Petrakis. It is set in the early 1960's in Chicago's Greek southside. The script and lyrics are by Dan Schaaf and Harry Mark Petrakis with music by Dan Schaaf.

The cast included Robert Dure, Mayre Williams, Greg Pachnik, Tony Balsimo, Noel Carlson, Robert Richter, Linda Didelot, Becky Fox, Cassandra Gleim and Larry Jortner. A discussion of the musical with the authors followed after the reading.
Harry Mark Petrakis is well know for his novels, essays and short stories that illuminate the rich variety of Greek life in Chicago. Harry's father was an Orthodox priest from Greece who eventually settled in Chicago. Harry is noted for his wry humor and rich, larger-than-life characters that lead heroic lives on the less-than-heroic southside of Chicago.

Dan Schaaf has been writing music for theater for twenty years. His last big projects include ‘Aelita, Queen of Mars' and ‘MacBeth, the Rock Opera'. For several years he wrote incidental music for the Dunes Summer Theater's Children's Theater,

Dan Schaaf wrote the incidental music for Harry Petrakis's ‘Love Stories' presented at Fourth Street Theater two years ago. "Both Harry and I were pleased with the ‘Greek' flavor that I was able to put into the music," Dan says.

‘A Dream of Kings' was made into a film starring Anthony Quinn in the 1970's. The producer of the film also produced on Broadway. He felt that the novel would make a good musical. But before the musical project could begin, the producer died. Ever since Harry Petrakis has had the idea of turning the novel into a musical.

The reading will include many of the songs and most of the music. However, the main focus will be on the script. "It's ironic, but true, that the least important part of a musical is the music," Dan says. "The Gershwins, Porter, Berlin, Rodgers and Hart wrote hundreds of great songs in the 1920's and 1930's for shows that have long been forgotten because the scripts were poor. However, a show with a strong script will survive, even if the songs are weak. The ideal, of course, is to have a strong script and strong songs."

Harry Petrakis' novel is full of marvelous characters, ideally suited for a larger-than-life musical. "Since the show is set in the 1960's, I want to capture of the flavor of musical theater of that time," says Dan. "This reading is the first of many steps towards seeing if we can accomplish what we have set out to do."