The 5th Avenue Theatre recently announced a major new commission. Novelist Anne Rice, most known for Interview with the Vampire, also wrote the novel Cry to Heaven. It is this book, bringing to life the otherworldly society of the 18th century castrati, that the 5th Avenue Theatre has commissioned. Music and lyrics will be by three-time Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Wilder with a book by Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal.
Based on Anne Rice’s third novel, Cry to Heaven follows Tonio, a teenage boy betrayed by his brother and forced into a life he never expected – a public life of celebrity in the world of the castrati, and a private life devoted to revenge. The castrato, is a type of classical male singing voice produced by castration of the singer before puberty, was all the rage in the 1700s but prepubescent castration for this purpose was greatly diminished by the 18th century.
Composer and lyricist Matthew Wilder has also composed the score for the musical Princesses, which debuted at the 5th Avenue Theatre in 2005. He’s perhaps most well known for having composed the Disney movie Mulan. Wilder was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe awards for his work on that movie. His songs have also been recorded by the likes of Selena Gomez, Aaron Neville, Puff Daddy, Stevie Wonder and Bette Midler, amongst others.
The 5th Avenue Theatre’s New Works Program is nationally recognized, having premiered 17 original Broadway-caliber musicals since 2001.
Care to hear a castrato’s voice?