Death Takes a Holiday
July 5 - August 3$18 – $28
Death Takes A Holiday, created by Maury Yeston (music and lyrics), Peter Stone and Thomas Meehan (book), makes its Regional Premiere at Medford’s Collaborative Theatre Project with a grand Gala opening on Friday, July 5th. Directed by Todd Nielsen, with musical direction by Karl Iverson, the show is adapted from the 1924 Italian play, La Morte in Vacanza by Alberto Casella. In 1934 Fredric March starred in the Anglicized film version (Death Takes a Holiday), which was remade in 1998 as Meet Joe Black, starring Brad Pitt.
Join us for the Gala and indulge in the glitz and glamor of the Roaring Twenties! Opening night includes light snacks, wine and a festive atmosphere which makes CTP the place to be on July 5th. Because of the holiday, there will be no preview on Thursday, July 4th.
The musical reimagination of this enchanting story played off-Broadway in 2011 and received 11 nominations for the 2011-12 Drama Desk Awards. Reviewers hailed the score as “lush, operetta-like making (Yeston) the heir to Jerome Kern’s crown…” London Press.
The story begins with Duke Vittorio Lamberti (Justin Waggle) and his family returning from a night at the casino, celebrating the engagement of his daughter, Grazia (Grace Peets) to Corrado Montelli (Elliot Anderson). A mysterious, shadowy figure blocks the road and the car screeches to a halt. Grazia is thrown from the car, but, miraculously, is unhurt.
Later that night, Death (Austin Ewing) touched by Grazia’s beauty, visits her in her garden. He has taken the body of a Russian Prince, Nikolai Sirki, who has just committed suicide in order to take human form for the weekend. He has a passionate desire to learn about human emotions and why death is so feared. He visits the count and declares his intent to holiday with the family for the weekend but warns of dire consequences if his identity is revealed.
Grazia and Nikolai are fated to fall hopelessly in love, but it is a love affair limited to this one weekend. The duke begs Nikolai to put Grazia’s life before his own as Nikolai confesses his love for Grazia. Lamberti tells Death that if his love is sincere, he will allow Grazia to experience the joys and sorrows of life. Nikolai/Death agrees and prepares to leave, but just before midnight, Grazia finds him and confesses she knows his true identity and loves him despite it all. The moving final moments of the musical finds Grazia confirming that “Love is stronger than Death.”
The incredible period costumes and the soaring score are a visual and audible treat for the senses. Time is suspended as Death indulges in all the emotions and pains of being in human form. As the clock winds down through the weekend, the love between Grazia and Nikolai transcends time. Time Magazine summed it up brilliantly in it’s review of the Top Ten shows of 2011 by proclaiming “Death deserved to live on.”
The cast of 14 features some of the strongest vocalists and performers in the valley. Sean Warren, Pam Ward, Becky Durango, CJ Reid, Galen James-Heskitt, Aaron Carter, Jessi Shieman, Hazel James, William Coyne and Alysia Beltran round out the cast of characters in the Italian villa home of the Duke and Countess Lamberti. The upstairs/downstairs aspect of the musical creates a total world of fascinating people, some of whom are truly aware that Death has come to visit for the weekend.
Scenic design is by Nicholas Hewitt; Mike Kunkel creates the atmospheric lighting and sound elements, costumes are by Susan Aversa-Orrego. Resident Stage Manager, Dinah Greenfield is also mixing the sound during the performance run.
If you want to join us in the open celebration, we encourage you to dress for the Roaring Twenties in your best gowns and tails! A prize will be awarded for the best costume and pre-show treats and wine are provided free of charge.
As always, there is a new art exhibit in the CTP gallery. Curated by Diana Rasmussen, this exhibit features multiple artists and mediums. Organized by the group, 100 Days of Creativity, the gallery entrance will be alive with color and interested art to welcome you to venue.