|The first public reading of the new musical ‘A Dream of
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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."