The Fortress of Solitude
by Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses, conceived by Daniel Aukin, based upon the novel by Jonathan Lethem
directed by Daniel Aukin
originally produced at Dallas Theater Center,
March 27, 2014
through April 6, 2014
A story of 1970s Brooklyn and beyond — of black and white, soul and rap, block parties and blackouts, friendship and betrayal, comic books and 45s.
And the story of what would happen if two teenagers obsessed with superheroes believed that maybe, just maybe, they could fly ...
In The Fortress of Solitude, Itamar Moses and Michael Friedman have written an urban coming-of-age musical that speaks to the diverse audience that regional theaters across the country collectively seek. Its score is resplendent with original songs written to capture the progression of sound over three decades--from soul and funk to contemporary hip hop. Projected through the prism of race relations, African American music, comic books and graffiti art, The Fortress of Solitude is a profoundly moving story of a deep friendship that, briefly, transcends the gravitational pull of race and class, thrillingly theatricalized with two boys lifting off and taking flight in a powerful song sequence that will thrill audiences.
Dallas Theater Center is fully committed to creating new plays and musicals that speak to diverse audiences across the country and can contribute to the rich body of work in the American theatrical canon for many years. In every way, The Fortress of Solitude fits DTC’s strategic vision for new work. It is being created by nationally recognized artists with whom DTC has ongoing artistic relationships. It is big and theatrical in its scale, accessible in its music and emotions, and thought provoking in its insights. It will find reception before a Dallas audience that loves new musicals and, in our upcoming 2013-14 season, is engaged in a season-long conversation about social justice, racial equality, recidivism and urban development, with productions of A Raisin in the Sun, Clybourne Park, Oedipus el Rey, Les Misérables and a new production of A Christmas Carol which focuses on the Dickensian themes of class, poverty, and worker’s rights. These are themes that resonate with audiences everywhere.
With the proper development and support, The Fortress of Solitude could meaningfully contribute to the canon of American theater by adapting a critically and commercially successful contemporary novel into a musical with bold and colorful roles, written to appeal to a wide national audience. Given its literary roots and popular comic-book theme, the production is expected to attract audiences of all ages and literary experiences, including those who might otherwise not attend the theater or have never before experienced a world premiere. Similarly, its contemporary score may appeal to generations of music lovers who don’t traditionally think of themselves as theater-goers.
Producing a world premiere musical is an expensive undertaking for a regional theater, requiring additional time and resources from out-of-town actors, designers and directors as well as musicians and its own production, artistic, and administrative departments. Funds from the Edgerton Foundation have made possible an additional nine days (1.5 weeks) of rehearsal with a full cast, musicians, writers, directors, and choreographers in residence. This investment of additional time will increase the likelihood of success of the production in Dallas, as well as at the Public Theater in New York, and the likelihood that the piece earns the attention and interest of other theaters.
Director: Daniel Aukin
Set Design: Eugene Lee
Lighting Design: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design: Rob Kaplowitz
Costume Design: Jessica Pabst
Choreographer: Camille A. Brown
Music Director: Kim Grigsby
Cast: Kyle Beltran, Etai Benshlomo, Patty Breckenridge, Adam Chanler-Berat, André De Shields, Jeremy Dumont, Carla Duren, Alison Hodgson, Jahi Kearse, Traci Lee, Kevin Mambo, Alex Organ, Britton Smith, Akron Watson, Juson Williams