SPOTLIGHT ON “NEVERMORE”
INNOVATIVE RE-TELLING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE’S STORY BRINGS BOTH FACT AND FICTION TO LIFE
Looks like there may have been more to what that pesky, looming raven was saying after all; he may have indeed been a futuristic walking advertisement!
Nevermore, which began previews at New World Stages on January 14, is an imaginary re-telling of famed author Edgar Allan Poe’s life and death. According to the director, the goal of the piece was to blend together his fictional poems and stories with his factual, real-life story, the result of which presents the three as one cohesive narrative. Don’t be surprised to see Poe presented as a “hip and handsome ladies’ man” — that’s the point, according to production designer Bretta Gerecke*; the piece is to show Poe as he really was, and put a spin on what you think you know by infusing his edgy, provocative stories into what’s already been established. He’s a rockstar celebrity who, haunted by continual, mind-consuming nightmares, undergoes a Sweeney Todd-esque transformation into the macabre poet we know today. So, fear not, diehard Poe fans. The creep factor is definitely still there.
As per the show’s official site, this innovative spectacular was “originally produced by Catalyst Theatre of Edmonton in Canada in 2009 as a way to commemorate the bicentennial of Poe’s birth.” The piece was brought to the US the following year, where it made its New York debut at the Victory Theatre.
Helmed by playwright Jonathan Christenson—who also wrote the show’s music, lyrics, and book—this incarnation features original cast members Gaelan Beatty, Shannon Blanchett, Beth Graham, and Scott Shpeley, among others, and has been expanded and revised (with a slew of new songs added) from its original NY production five years ago. Nevermore opened at New World Stages on January 25, and is currently playing an open-ended run. So, heed that raven’s advice (that must have been what he meant, right?) and get your tickets today!
*paraphrased from a separate interview