Schikaneder, the latest full-length musical from Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Wicked, Godspell and Pippin, among many other shows and movies, will have its world premiere September 9 at the Raimund Theater in Vienna, Austria.
And, that's appropriate because the show tells the story of Mozart's frequent collaborator, Emanuel Schikaneder, librettist for The Magic Flute and other operas. The project was previously titled Emanuel and Eleonore.
A press conference featuring the premiere of one of the show's songs sung by leading man Mark Seibert is scheduled for 11 AM local time (5 AM ET) in Vienna May 10. The event will be live-streamed here.
In an exclusive 2015 interview with Playbill.com, Schwartz described the show as "sort of a backstage musical romantic comedy. It takes place in the 1790s, and it's based on real people: Emanuel Schikaneder and his rather tempestuous relationship with his wife."
Eleonore was a leading lady in Schikaneder's company, and a major influence on his writing, but that never stopped him from numerous infidelities that complicated both their personal and professional lives.
The Raimund Theater posted an interview with Schwartz in English:
So why Vienna?
That's where librettist Christian Struppeck is general artistic director of the Raimund Theatre and the Ronacher Theatre. “I've known Christian for a long time," Schwartz said. "He came to me with this idea, which I really liked.” They met when Struppeck was an actor and Schwartz was working on his stage adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which debuted in Germany.
What did Schwartz like about the idea? “Well, there's a spoiler about it that I'm not going to spoil — like the spoilers in Wicked. There is really a cool surprise.”
Tony winner Trevor Nunn is scheduled to direct.
The libretto is being written in English and will subsequently be translated into German by Michael Kunze, who translated Wicked into German. "He's absolutely brilliant," Schwartz said.