Cast Size: No Chorus • Small (1-10) • Medium (5-21). Vocal Demands: Moderate. Dance Requirements: Some Dancing Required • Minimal. Good For: College/University • Amateur/Community • Professional Theatre.
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June 10, 1937
July 05, 1938
Drama Desk Awards— Award for Most Promising New Composer
Vocal Range of Characters:
Written By: Stanley Silverman
The songs, originally written for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada's production of The Satyricon were reorganized by Foreman “to tell the story of Ben, who is put through a series of treatments by Dr. Selavy which include 1) facing the pirates 2) living the good life 3) dreaming of love 4) the symbolic death 5) the rebirth and anger 6) the ecstasy and cure.”
Doctor Selavy premiered at The Lenox Arts Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and was transferred in tact for an Off-Broadway run at The Mercer Arts Center. Produced by Lyn Austin and Oliver Smith, the show’s run had an abrupt end when the theatre complex collapsed.
The cast was made up largely of ex-pats from the recently closed Hair. The only note I remember giving was to Richard pointing out that the layout of the production had to be reversed with the audience facing south (downtown) as it had in the Berkshires (towards Stockbridge) in order to replicate the original success. Richard bought into it and reversed the entire space.
Foreman’s staging was hypnotic. Years before MTV he had a knack for making each song a complete choreographic episode never losing sight of their importance as part of the whole.
There were other first-class productions—Chicago, Cleveland, the Oxford Playhouse in England, a brief revival in New York—each with their own take on Richard’s edict, “The director of each production should feel free to change all elements of the staging or narrative to suit the particular circumstance of his (her) production.”
When living through a period and composing for the musical theatre without any particular political or social motives other than to entertain with a certain degree of freshness, it is now clear that the early ‘70’s was quite a remarkable time. I was taken by Mick Jagger’s recent comment concerning the re-release of Exile on Main Street: “There is no need to update that period if you can just show it and hear it.”
Written By: Richard Foreman
I recall a meeting with Lyn Austin and Stanley Silverman at that moment in 1972 when they asked me to create a piece based on pre-existent songs by Stanley and Tom Hendry. 'My dream,' said Lyn, 'is to have an experience in the theatre that's like going into an art gallery and seeing all these wonderful paintings, or going to a lavish buffet dinner, passing from table to table and savoring just the right amount of whatever you like best. Just moving from one wonderful treat to another without any boring in between.'
So I tried to fill her dream by imagining one of my own, and, amazingly quickly, the songs crystallized into the odyssey of a confused young man, led by wacky doctors through a labyrinth of goblins and gargoyles springing up to confront the young man with wildly theatricalized versions of the major life crises and temptations -- wealth, sensuality, power, romance, nostalgia for lost innocence, and death. I imagined that young man lightly and ironically singing and dancing his way through a fun house, presided over by the mysterious Dr. Selavy ('C'est La Vie') -- an ironic androgynous persona created by modern art's most profound punster and master trickster, Marcel Duchamp. Then, during rehearsals, whenever a difficult moment arrived and I was wracking my brains for a new idea, I'd step outside under the trees (this was in Lenox, Massachusetts, where the piece was created) and say to myself, 'Now Richard, imagine, what would Marcel Duchamp invent to make this moment just a little more outrageous and delightful and funny? And indeed, the imaginary Duchamp came up with such items as the heavy wooden beam that keeps falling from the sky to knock a new idea or insight into our poor young hero's head.
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- Orchestration Package (6 Books)
- 1 – Piano Conductor Scores
- 1 – GUITAR I (Electric Guitar, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele)
- 1 – GUITAR II (Classical Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin)
- 1 – CELLO
- 1 – ELECTRIC BASS (Doubling Acoustic)
- 1 – Drums
- Rehearsal Set (22 Books)
- 20 – Libretto/Vocal Books
- 1 – Logo CD
- 2 – Piano Conductor Scores
- 0 – Digital Logo
- Libretto/Vocal Books 10 pack
- 10 – Libretto/Vocal Books
- DR. SELAVY - PRE-PRODUCTION PACKAGE
- 1 – Libretto/Vocal Books
- 1 – Piano Conductor Scores
The characters should be identified by the names of the actors in each role.
Ben - the young and bewildered patient
Dr. Mary - the strong-willed matron
Dr. Bob - short and lively with rolling eyes
Dr. Steve - the hippie type
Dr. Denise - exotic, svelte and sinuous
Dr. Amy - short, childlike but slightly macabre
Dr. Jessica - the beautiful, country club type
Dr. Selavy - austere, maniacal, tall and elegant
Young Ben (non-singing)