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Regina Spektor is the latest rock musician to cross over into theater

September 17, 2009 |  6:00 am


Following in the recent footsteps of Green Day and Duncan Sheik, singer Regina Spektor is making the transition from rock star to stage artist in the new musical production "Beauty," which is expected to open in 2011.

The Russian-born Spektor, whose latest alt-rock album "Far" was released earlier this year, currently is writing the music for the show, collaborating with playwright Tina Landau, whose one-act play "Beauty" provides the inspiration for the production.

Stuart Oken, who is one of the producers, told Culture Monster that there will likely be between 10 to 15 original songs in the musical.

"Regina's kind of fresh voice is elusive. There are plenty of theater composers, but we wanted a pop rock flavor -- though it's really hard to call Regina that," said Oken on the phone from his office in Chicago.

"She's a complete musician who is classically trained. She is surprising at every turn."

"Beauty," which is loosely based on the "Sleeping Beauty" tale, is a musical that takes place in two different time periods. The first half hews closely to Landau's original play, which is set 1,000 years in the past. The second part of the musical brings us closer to the present day, according to Oken.

He declined to elaborate anymore on the plot or to discuss casting.

Producers are aiming to bring the musical to Broadway near the end of the 2011-12 season. They are also planning a tryout run at a major regional theater, most likely in 2011.

The book for the musical is being written by Landau, with lyrics by Michael Korie. (Landau is currently directing the Broadway run of "Superior Donuts" by Tracy Letts.)

The one-act "Beauty" had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2003, according to a company spokeswoman. 

Elephant Eye Theatrical, which is based in Chicago, is producing the musical version of the play.

-- David Ng

Photo: Regina Spektor. Credit: Brian Sweeney / Getty Images

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