CRANFORD—The Friends of the Cranford Public Library are pleased to present a script-in-hand, staged performance of “A Night in the Wilde Wild West,” a musical based on “Wilde Night in the Rockies,” on Saturday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m. in the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue.
The play will be performed by members of The Theater Project, one of New Jersey’s most acclaimed professional theater groups, and the recent winner of two New Jersey Tony Awards. “Wilde Wild West” is a mad, dark comedy in which Oscar Wilde arrives in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado in 1882 on his lecture tour of America. Madam Augusta and her henchman, Willie, have a stranglehold on Leadville.
Together they lie, cheat, and even hang in order to maintain their control. Augusta’s daughter, Frenchie, is pursued by Willie, but she loves her mother’s enemy, the miner Charlie. Oscar outwits the bad guys, frees Leadville, rescues young love, and enjoys a three-course dinner of whiskey, whiskey, and whiskey with the miners, the Prince of Wales, and Lillie Langtry.
The book of the play and the lyrics are by Jewel Seehaus-Fisher. Ms. Seehaus-Fisher is a two-time recipient of New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowships in playwriting. She has had many of her full length plays produced, including “Person of Interest,” “Mark Twain and the General: The Opera,” “Trio Sonata,” “My Sister Underground,” “Fanny and Walt,” “Amandla,” and “Cakes and Ale.” Productions of her short plays include: “Love on Route 27,” “Blame It On Love,” “The Fan,” “Taxi!,” “My Sister Underground,” “Enter A Stranger,” “Tomato Season,” “Next,” “Safe Sex,” “Mr. Singh,” and “Novistad.”
The music for “Wild Wilde West” was composed by Dr. Robert W. Butts. Dr. Butts is an active New Jersey conductor, educator, and composer. He is currently Artistic Director and Conductor of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, Eastern Opera Company, and In Mid-Air Productions. He is on the faculty of Montclair State University and the College of Saint Elizabeth.
Dr. Butts has been awarded the American Prize for orchestral conducting (2011) and opera conducting (2012), as well as being granted the first American Prize for Educational Outreach (2011). His opera “Mark Twain and the General,” with libretto by Ms. Seehaus-Fisher, has been given several acclaimed performances, and was first heard in a Theater Project reading in April 2012. His other theater works include adaptations of works by Edgar Allen Poe (“The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado”) and the musical drama “Gesualdo,” also written in collaboration with Ms. Seehaus-Fisher. In January 2012, Dr. Butts participated in the Atlanta Opera’s 24 Hour Opera Project.
The performance of “A Night in the Wilde Wild West” will be followed by a discussion among the play’s creators, the actors, the director, and members of the audience. Admission to the program is free and all are welcome.
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