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Stephen Schwartz's 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon' gets New York dates

August 24, 2010 |  1:00 pm

Seance Few showbiz composers can boast a resume chock-full of box-office hits as Stephen Schwartz. The composer wrote the score to such Broadway blockbusters as"Wicked," "Pippin" and "Godspell." Schwartz has also won three Oscars for his work on the animated movies "Pocahontas" and "The Prince of Egypt."

Looking to broaden his artistic reach, Schwartz debuted his first opera, "Séance on a Wet Afternoon," at Opera Santa Barbara in 2009. The opera, which is based on the 1964 movie starring Kim Stanley, was expected to transfer to New York -- and now it has a definite run date and cast.

"Séance" is scheduled to play April 19-May 1 at New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. Soprano Lauren Flanigan will reprise the lead role that she played in Santa Barbara -- a fame-hungry psychic who has a number of schemes up her sleeve.

Also included in the New York cast will be Kim Josephson (who performed in the Santa Babara production), Melody Moore, Todd Wilander, Boyd Schlaefer, Philip Boykin, Pamela Jones and Jane Shaulis.

Scott Schwartz, who is the son of the composer, will direct the production as he did in Santa Barbara. George Manahan will conduct.

A reviewer for The Times gave the Santa Barbara production a mixed review, writing that "Schwartz commands a sure skill with a tune and the arc of a dramatic evening. With an ultimately comforting charm, despite its wicked plot turns, 'Séance' exists somewhere between Opera Lite and Opera Middling."

-- David Ng

Photos: scenes from "Séance on a Wet Afternoon," at Opera Santa Barbara in 2009. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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