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Theatrical Licensing
Musical Theatre Shows composed by Peter Link
& available for rental


Sundown  / King Of Hearts  / Island

Link Theatrical Leasing is a company in the tradition of Tams Witmark or Music Theater International, but with a slight twist. We bring you the great shows that may not have opened yet or may not have been smash hits for various reasons, but deserve to be seen and performed for years to come. If you’re looking for something a little different, perhaps something a bit more creative than the usual Broadway fare, then you’ve come to the right spot. Check out our ever growing list of wonderful shows that that haven't yet gotten the chance or might have tripped for a moment on the way to the bright lights.
Sundown Leasing
Music by Peter Link
Lyrics by Joe Bravaco & Larry Rossler
Book by Larry Rossler

Check out Sundown's official website:

SundownMusical.com
When eight men faced off on a dusty street in Tombstone, Arizona, 1881, they had no idea that their fight would launch them into legend. The Gunfight at the OK Corral lasted less than sixty seconds. But those fleeting moments grew rapidly into an American myth, one that informs our national character to this day, SUNDOWN explores the myth and the men who unwittingly formed it: the Earps, the Clantons, the McLaurys, and the unlikely outlaw known as Doc Holliday. His story is an American romance - the romance of the gun. Sundown tells the story of Doc Holliday, the notorious gambler and gunfighter, and his fateful meeting with Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, Arizona.

Barter Theatre Production

Barter Theatre Production

These larger than life figures play a part in one of the most compelling legends of the American West -- the Gunfight at the OK Corral. However, Sundown takes another look at the legend in a musical that's filled with poignancy and humor. Here, Doc Holliday is seen as a modern man struggling to reform but making all the wrong choices. Then, just when he finds the one good thing in his life, an intriguing woman known as Cattle Kate, he discovers that time has run out and, perhaps, his fate had long ago been sealed. The musical was developed in workshops at ASCAP and the York Theatre in Manhattan and received it's world premier at Lyric Stage in Texas.


According to Peter Filichia, theatre critic of New Jersey's premier paper, the Star Ledger, and internet columnist for Theatremania.com, the lively country-based score is Link's best work.

 

Sample Music from the Sundown Studio Cast CD

 


Judy McLane

Click on links below to listen to samples of the music:


Arizona Morning
sung by Steve Blanchard and men's chorus

Bridges
sung by Judy McLane

We Ain't Never Had It So Good
sung by Joe Lutton, Bob Aronson, Jeffrey Wolf and Peter Link

One More Drink
sung by Joe Lutton, Judy McLane and men

Poison Water
sung by the entire cast

Wait
sung by Dennis Deal, Jimmy Bennet and Patrick Ryan Sullivan

Prisoner
sung by Judy McLane

The Rest Of My Life
sung by Steve Blanchard
with Patrick Ryan Sullivan


Sundown
sung by Steve Blanchard
with Julia Wade

 

 


Steve Blanchard

 


Patrick Ryan Sullivan
& Steve Blanchard

 


Joe Lutton

 

 


Patrick Ryan Sullivan

 

Quotes About Sundown

Quotes From The ASCAP Workshop:

" We are accustomed in westerns to having good guys and bad guys. There's Marshall Dillon, who's keeping law in town, and then there are the bad guys."

"Here you have a show where everybody's behavior is extremely morally ambiguous. They are all bad guys. The guy who's the sheriff two seconds ago is planning to hit the stage. There is something interesting about that. It is an asset because it makes it more true to life, more adult. Moral ambiguity is very interesting. The music is terrific. It's nice to hear theater music written around a guitar. It's very refreshing. What you have here is something that is clearly a tuneful show in a place and time. It's a fresh thing to do for the musical theater. It feels fresh, musically, for the genre. You have compelling characters. You are already far ahead of the game. You guys are skilled at doing this."

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ (Academy Award winning composer/lyricist):


Barter Theatre Production

Barter Theatre Production
" First of all, I can tell you that I'm delighted with what I heard. I'm really intrigued by what you're doing. I happen to be immensely fond of westerns. Like the musical, this is an American art form. There's something very exciting about any musical that's a western. You have many elements in place. You have beautiful songs. 'Sundown' is haunting, 'Bridges' the same. You've got your key songs, your boisterous songs, songs that reflect the people. I look forward to hearing this show in some form when you present it again. I would pay top dollar to see the show. Snatch victory from the jaws of victory." 
RUPERT HOLMES
(Tony Award winning composer/lyricist):


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More Sundown Quotes


"The score and book are excellent. You need a worthy regional theatre to salute this play and give it a full production."
TED TULCHIN (Produced the Pulitzer Prize winning play Dinner With Friends)

WESTERN CLASSIC HITS THE MARK AS MUSICAL "Ah, the joys of live theater: the roar of the crowd, the smell of the greasepaint and the gunsmoke ... In Sundown, authors Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler focus on John 'Doc' Holliday, the Baltimore dentist who moved to Arizona for his health and became a legendary gunfighter. His saga works well as a musical, Doc himself being worthy of an opera".
PERRY STEWART / Special to the Star-Telegram -- Dallas

 

SUNDOWN COMBINES GRIT AND BEAUTY
"This show stands head and shoulders above any western-type musical I can remember, including such a favorite as Oklahoma. Actually, to compare Sundown to other western musicals is probably unfair to all. Sundown, although containing singing, dancing, and some pretty funny bits, has a gritty, almost morbid reality to it that befits its subject, a shootout more of an ambush, really that resulted in the immediate deaths of three men, the severe wounding of two more, and, probably, the final curtain call on what we today know as The Old West. This play has several fantastic songs, probably the best of which is the first: Arizona Morning sung by Holliday (Hardy) and the ensemble. Other notable numbers include We Aint Never Had It So Good, Politickin, Bridges, sung by Kate, and Another Time, by Kate and Doc."
ROBERT McKINNEY / Bristol Herald Courier

 

"The end result is another artistic gem of a production. From the opening act number of foreshadowing, to the cryptic and dark ending of Act One, to the tour de force Act Two that has the elements of blocking, vision, costume, lighting, set, and cast that is just breath taking. Take my word, from the beginning number "Poisoned Water" to the end, it is magical theater at its finest!"
JOHN GARCIA / The Column -- Dallas

GREAT TALE, TUNES FLY AT OK CORRAL
“Sundown” corrals some great songs
Shootout makes bang up musical
Sundown has some great songs. In fact, Peter Link's score may be Lyric Stage's strongest discovery to date."
LAWSON TAITTE / The Dallas Morning News

 

Production pictures from The Barter Theater, Abingdon, VA
   
Sundown Reviews


GREAT TALE, TUNES FLY AT OK CORRAL LAWSON TAITTE
(The Dallas Morning News)

IRVING - These days, you don't have to have great songs to make a musical – just look at The Producers. The essential thing is a strong story, well told. On Saturday, Irving's company devoted to new or seldom-performed musicals opened Sundown, its ninth world premiere in the last six years. Sundown has some great songs. In fact, Peter Link's score may be Lyric Stage's strongest discovery to date.
Fortunately, it also has one of the best stories from the Old West, the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Ariz. Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler have compressed it into a manageable package for the theater, and Mr. Rosler's lyrics, though seldom memorable in their own right, push the story along.

Doc Holliday (played by Kevin Varner) occupies center stage in this telling. As the curtain rises, Doc has decided to give up gambling and return to his native Baltimore. But his old pals the Earp brothers show up and lure him into staying – even after he has met a woman he wants to take back East (Gina Biancardi).

For the first half-hour, Sundown inspires fear that it's one of those competent musicals that don't give their characters reason to sing rather than talk (like Broadway's current Sweet Smell of Success. The device of having a woman in black(Candace Evans) represent Doc's obsession with death doesn't quite work either.
By the time the fifth of the 17 songs rolls around, all doubts are banished. The second half of the first act provides one good tune after another, especially the title number right before intermission.

It helps that director Cheryl Denson has cast the show perfectly. Each of the actors in the three rival families has an individual look, moves comfortably and can sing. Steve Barcus plays Wyatt Earp as a bantam cock out for glory.
Sundown is really Mr. Varner and Ms. Biancardi's show, though. This role establishes her among our top musical leading ladies, even though the script's motivations are sometimes far-fetched and the performer's hairdo is way out of period. Mr. Varner is terrific in his big moments, attacking his song "Sundown" with emotional power and fine pipes. He doesn't always look comfortable when just standing around, though.


A week or two more of rehearsals would probably have solved that problem. It might have given the designers and technical staff time to polish up some things like some crude lighting cues. Giva Taylor's costumes, though, look perfect and establish a new standard for Lyric Stage.

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  WESTERN CLASSIC HITS THE MARK AS MUSICAL
Posted on Mon, Apr. 22, 2002
By PERRY STEWART
Special to the Star-Telegram

 
IRVING - Ah, the joys of live theater: the roar of the crowd, the smell of the greasepaint and the gunsmoke ...Yep, gunsmoke. The actors at Lyric Stage are packing real six-shooters. That's only fitting for a new musical that climaxes with the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In Sundown, authors Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler focus on John "Doc" Holliday, the Baltimore dentist who moved to Arizona for his health and became a legendary gunfighter.  His saga works well as a musical, Doc himself being worthy of an opera.


The best singers in producer Steven Jones' premiere staging are Kevin Varner as Doc and Gina Biancardi as a version of Katie Elder. Recall Biancardi's maternal figure in Allegro and you'll appreciate her acting stretch here as a bawdy belle always ready for One More Drink. That number leads to a hangover of Olympic scope, and Biancardi plays it down and dirty. She fires the show's first big solo salvo on Bridges, tops herself with Prisoner, then joins Varner on the soaring Another Time. Bradley Campbell is both menacing and comical as Ike Clanton, accustomed to calling the shots in Tombstone.

When the U.S. marshal, Virgil Earp, installs his brother Wyatt as sheriff, the Clanton clan regards that as a Fly in the Ointment. Steve Barcus is a peppery, revisionist Wyatt Earp. Candace Evans is compelling in one of the script's better twists: an elegantly sexy Grim Reaper. Jon Morehouse is charmingly droll. And Chip Wood is solid as an evil Clanton henchman - this despite an opening-night mishap that this actor will probably remember as The Holster From Hell. Cheryl Denson directs with a feel for pacing and an eye for the heroic tableau, which designers Susan A. White and Wade Giampa achieve. Musical director Nyela Basney's small combo can't do justice to Peter Link's score. (A fiddle would work wonders.) Perry Stewart


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THEATER REVIEWS
WORLD PREMIERE SUNDOWN**

John Garcia's THE COLUMN
April 23, 2002
**Reviewed 04-20-02 performance

What new laurels and accolades can we bestow on Lyric Stage that hasn't already been said? Lyric Stage is the only theater company in Texas that has the bulk of their productions mounted that are totally fresh and new, never to have been produced before. Now, while the company does produced off and on a well known show,(past titles include Gypsy & Brigadoon), they primarily produced brand new musicals. This makes any musical theater fan (both in the audience and on stage) yelp with glee! Lyric Stage has brought to life some of the finest musical theater productions to its audiences. Some of these include Richard Cory and Abyissina. The company has now even ventured into New York with co-producing with the York Theater Company the musical Roadside, which we metroplex audiences had first dibs to see when it was produced here earlier this season.

Lyric Stage this time around presents the world premiere of the new musical, Sundown, which centers around Doc Holliday and that well known shootout at the OK Corral. I must confess that I am not a huge fan of those John Wayne western films, to the point that I really haven't seen that many films dealing with cowboys, gunslingers, and the such. So I walked into the Dupree theater really not knowing a lot about Holliday and the OK battle. While this is quite a different subject to write a musical around, there have been stranger subjects. I mean take a gander at past broadway musicals, they went way out there once and brought to life a musical about Carrie! So why not Doc Holliday?! It was quite interesting to know that Holliday wanted to leave Tombstone,Arizona to become a Dental doctor, only to be sidelined by the Earp Brothers into staying in town for a little longer.

Director Cheryl Denson continues to take artistic risks and has not once dropped the ball! She is assigned constantly new or hardly ever produced musicals and the end result is another artistic gem of a production. Denson has a grand eye for visual enhancement to the emotion of the piece that she is working on, and in Sundown you see it.

From the opening act number of foreshadowing, to the cryptic and dark ending of Act one, to the tour de force Act Two that has the elements of blocking, vision, costume, lighting, set, and cast that is just breath taking. Take my word, from the number "Poisoned Water" to the end, it is magical theater at its finest!

One of the best elements of the production is the score itself. There are nineteen songs interspread within the book, and they are both powerful and beautifully written pieces of music. The score's best moments come from the solos sung throughout the evening.But Peter Link's score does for the most hit great emotional arch and the music coming from the orchestra pit (conducted again by the marvelous Nyela Basney) is both impressive and exquisite. Easily the best ensemble number of the evening is "Poisoned Water", with its lush harmonies of the singers and the commitment of the entire cast on understanding the emotion of the number is wonderful to both see and hear. Link's strongest work is in the majestic solos for various characters. Some of my favorite arias included, "Arizona Morning", "The Rest of My Life", "Bridges", "Sundown", "Prisoner", "Men Aint What They Used to Be", and the haunting "Another Time". Each of these solos are gold nuggets! The music written for them is moving, with a light air of country & western mixed in with a light dusting of pop/rock overtones. I wished though that the character "Woman in Black" had a solo of her own. The character truly begs for one. It takes awhile to realize that the character is the Angel of Death, but she has not one song to establish her purpose or reason within the plot. Which is too bad, because I honestly think this is a great idea of having this character in the piece.

Gina Biancardi is both tough and loving as "Kate", she is divine! As for the kudos to the best performances of the evening, those would belong to Kevin Varner (Doc Holliday) and Steve Barcus (Wyatt Earp). The book, score, and characters all circle around one major character-that of Doc Holliday, which is performed here with brilliance by Kevin Varner.Varner also has the best songs of the evening to sing. From the light and airy "Arizona Morning"; to the fun and festive up-tempo "The Rest of My Life"; to the tour de force and deeply emotional act one finale, "Sundown". The actor sings with passion and gives total commitment to his character. As you may remember, Wyatt was quite ill, thus Varner brings this element as well to the table. His harsh coughing and wheezing is extremely realistic and gives his Act one and Act two finales great subtext. Varner is magnificent in the role.


The cast and director are greatly aided by the creative design team as well. Giva Taylor and Susan Mayes' costumes are perfect in period and detail. Susan A. White's lighting design could rival any broadway production! Her design of creating "emotional color" is to be admired greatly. Her design of Act two 's battle at the OK Corral is worth the price of admission alone! I loved it!Wade Giampa's set involves platforms and two major turntables on either side of the stage. The sets are designed with authenticity and are painted to reflect sun burned ,worn out wood that actually looks like these buildings have been sitting out in the hot, western sun for years. Not many cities in the United States have theater companies that produced new musicals from scratch. New York has Encores, Los Angeles has Reprise, both are companies that do new or hardly ever seen musicals. We are indeed VERY lucky to have our very own such company right here in Dallas! Lyric Stage is currently in its ninth season, and with productions like SUNDOWN, they will be here for another ten years! And for that, both audiences and our metroplex artistic family are very fortunate to have.

RATING:
CAST/DIRECTION/PRODUCTION: A+

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SUNDOWN COMBINES GRIT AND BEAUTY
by Robert McKinney / BRISTOL HERALD COURIER

 
Barter Theatre has been selected for the East Coast premier of Sundown, a wonderful new musical drama that recounts the events leading up to the famous Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, in October of 1881, the gunfight itself that lasted all of 90 seconds, and a brief glance at the legend it became. This show stands head and shoulders above any western-type musical I can remember, including such a favorite as Oklahoma. Actually, to compare Sundown to other western musicals is probably unfair to all. Sundown, although containing singing, dancing, and some pretty funny bits, has a gritty, almost morbid reality to it that befits its subject, a shootout more of an ambush, really that resulted in the immediate deaths of three men, the severe wounding of two more, and, probably, the final curtain call on what we today know as The Old West.

The Barters own John Hardy plays Doc Holliday, the tubercular Georgia dentist turned cardsharp, alleged Wells-Fargo stagecoach robber, and ladies man. Hardy is perfectly cast as Holliday, a man keenly aware of his own legend, yet grappling with the fact that he is dying of bloody consumption. It is primarily from the viewpoint of Holliday that we see the escalation into violence of what amounted, some historians believe, to little more than an ongoing feud between two rival groups, the Earp brothers, Morgan, Virgil, and Wyatt, along with Doc Holliday, and their rivals consisting primarily of Billy and Ike Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury. The truth about who was in the right, if anybody probably nobody; who fired first; and whether justice or vengeance was served has long ago blown away in the dusty Arizona wind. Even at the time few people agreed whether Wyatt Earp, who had been briefly the sheriff of Tombstone, was an upstanding citizen defending the town against a marauding gang or if he was, in fact, little better than the gang himself. This is not a story about saints.

Derek Davidson plays Wyatt Earp, Chris Ross plays Morgan Earp, and John Hedges plays Virgil Earp. Dressed all in black, the Earps and Doc Holliday, very nicely counter play the good guys cliques, while the Clantons and McLaurys, supposedly the bad guys, look far less sinister. Mike Ostroski plays Billy Clanton, Eugene Wolf plays Ike Clanton, Peter Yonka plays Frank McLaury, and JJ Musgrove plays Tom McLaury. Nicholas Piper, whose absence from Barter casts has been noted for the past couple of years, is back as John Behan, a friend of the Clantons and McLaurys, who was the sheriff of Tombstone at the time of the famous shootout. Piper is a fine and versatile actor and it is good to have him home. Docs girlfriend, Kate Fisher, known as Big Nose Kate, is played by Kathryn Foster, a beautiful newcomer to the Barter stage. Her character, a drifting bar girl, pickpocket, and sometimes prostitute, is nicely done and believable. Finally, the magnificent Evalyn Baron rounds out the cast as the Woman In Black or, if one so chooses, Death. Her presence is felt throughout the play, but in the end she has to wait for the dramas two principals Wyatt Earp and Holliday. Earp would live into a ripe old age in California as a real estate speculator and Holliday would live at least a dozen more years before finally dying in a sanitarium in Colorado.

This play has several fantastic songs, probably the best of which is the first: Arizona Morning sung by Holliday (Hardy) and the ensemble. Other notable numbers include We Aint Never Had It So Good, Politickin, Bridges, sung by Kate, and Another Time, by Kate and Doc. This is a play that seems particularly well cast. The set, while simple, works wonderfully. And all the other stuff such as sound, lighting, etc. is, of course, up to the Barters usual high standards. Richard Rose directs and choreographed. William Perry Morgan leads the live four-piece orchestra.

Sundown had its world premier in Irving, Texas, at the Lyric Stage. The music is by Peter Link with lyrics by Larry Rosler. The book is by Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler. If youd like to read a bit more about the history of the shootout at the O.K. Corral and the bad blood between the Earps, the Clantons, and the McLaurys, a good Internet site is www.jcs-group.com/oldwest/towns/okcorral.html. This site gives an 11-page history. Checking out this site makes Sundown much more enjoyable. I do have a warning, however, and it is an important one to note. This play contains quite a bit of pretty realistic gunfire and it gets quite noisy. Several times members of the cast point their weapons (pistols and one double-barreled shotgun) in the direction of the audience. They are not shooting toward the audience or at the audience, but just the fact of having a firearm, even a harmless stage firearm, pointed in my direction is a bit unnerving. And, please understand, I like guns, own guns, and have shot guns all my life, including in the military. For those among us, however, who only know firearms from their movie or television depictioneither in shows or on the newssuch gunplay might cause some deal of discomfort. You are, of course, certainly never in any danger and, by the time you read this the choreography will probably be a bit revised to reduce the illusion of such. This warning is not meant to keep you from attending a great musical play and I hope it doesnt. Just go advised that there is gunplay and it is fairly realistic. Sundown runs through May 17 on the Barter Mainstage. For times, dates, and reservations, call the Box Office at 276-628-3991 or visit Barter online at www.bartertheatre.com.

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REVIEW OF SUNDOWN, BARTER THEATRE
By Warren M. Harris / WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS
SUBMITTED MARCH 17, 2003


 
The Barter Theatre’s currently running East Coast premiere of the musical play Sundown is a rollicking, tuneful re-telling of the Old-West tale of the gunfight at the OK Corral. The challenge of this enterprise is to bring a fresh and engaging approach to a story so well-known as to have become a part of mythic Americana. Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler’s script, Peter Link and Rosler’s songs, and Richard Rose’s staging succeed in doing so by borrowing from several models in roughly equal parts: the traditional stage musical, the ancient Greek myth, the Western movie, and a Bud Light commercial.

As in all good musicals, the songs consistently entertain, illuminate character, and advance the story. With a cast of nine men and only two women, there is, predictably, quite a bit of "rousing" male singing. But Kathryn Foster (as Kate Fisher) uses a rich, country-style voice in her solo opportunities to create some of the show’s most moving and powerful moments. Musical Director Wm. Perry Morgan effectively creates a Western atmosphere with guitar and piano. But I did miss the pleasure of being able to see the musicians, either on stage or in the pit. Sundown retells the events which occurred in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, not as history, but as myth, and that with an original twist.

Wyatt Earp becomes a largely comic figure – drunken and infantile. Derek Davidson in this role effectively amuses with wild eyes, lunging movements, and whiny snarls. Sundown’s hero is the multi-dimensional character of Doc Holliday, played with riveting intensity by John Hardy. Holliday finds himself, like a Wild-West Sisyphus, caught in a cruelly ironic situation, and Hardy exploits his character’s introspective frame of mind with impressive dramatic and musical performances, including a hard-edged, thoroughly engrossing rendition of the title song at the end of Act One. From the B-Western movie, Sundown borrows several stock supporting characters. Each of the bad-guy members of the Clanton gang has his shtick -- one is wily, one is naïve, one is hot-headed. The (relatively) good guys, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, are likewise stereotypical, as are the weak-kneed sheriff and the cynical saloon temptress.

The Western film format contributes visual elements as well. Cheri Prough DeVol’s open stage design with movable set pieces features Arizona colors and a nicely rendered background projection representing a Western street. And (not surprisingly, given the show’s title) there is at times a beautiful sunset of the sort into which horse-opera heroes frequently disappear. Amanda Aldridge’s notable 1880’s costumes feature long overcoats, frock coats, gun belts, holsters, and a couple sets of clanking spurs, items normally only seen at one remove on TV or the silver screen. And yet another reminder of the cowboy pictures is a generous use of gunfire from ubiquitous pistols. Finally, by my reference to the model of a Bud Light commercial, I mean that a sly, roguish humor energizes the dialogue and action of most scenes. A significant part of the fun resides in Rose’s choreography. It has just enough comic bravado and rowdiness to make it a credible employment for the he-man gunslingers who largely people Sundown. For example, one of the dance numbers features pistol-twirling, and another uses the gunfighting cowboy’s distinctive leg twitches to excellent comic effect.


There may of course be legitimate moral reservations about legends of the Old West in which problems are solved with six-shooters. But at least for me, the high theatricalism and the overlay of humor largely excuse Sundown from the world of ethical discourse and make it an enjoyable musical variation on an archetypal story.

 

 

King Of Hearts Leasing

Music by Peter Link
Lyrics by Jacob Brackman
Book by Steve Tesich

The New York Times

" Now at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, King of Hearts is about the need for love, frivolity and grandeur. Simplicity and intimacy are recaptured with affection, authenticity and focus. The musical is pure romantic escape – into fantasy and into the fantastic…a celebratory rite of love’s redemptive power. Mr. Link’s music is a fusion of classical chorales, down-home American country style, French music hall and Viennese waltzes… Whatever may sound derivative dissolves into the ephemera of real charm and enchantment. It is worth investigating."

Alvin Klein




 

King Of Hearts
Sample Music

Click titles to play:

Close Upon The Hour
sung by Don Scardino

King Of Hearts
sung by Pamela Blair

Somewhere Is Here
sung by Millicent Martin

Nothing Only Love
sung by
Julia Wade

Mrs. Draba
sung by Don Scardino

Down At Madeleine's
sung by Millicent Martin & Company

Transformation
sung by Company


Broadway Production
A Brief History of King Of Hearts
by Peter Link


What follows is a brief history and some random thoughts about KING OF HEARTS written originally by composer Peter Link in 1980 and updated in 2003:


KING OF HEARTS has always been more than just another musical for me. Since I first saw the film some years ago it has been more of an obsession. When the movie was over, I sat dumbfounded in the theatre in awe of the story and the incredible possibilities it held for a new musical.

The evolution of KING OF HEARTS has included many productions. Each one has been somewhat different in its own way but each one has always had at its center one major similarity -- love.

I discovered that A.J. Antoon, a brilliant young American stage director, was also very interested in adapting KING OF HEARTS for the musical stage. We spent six months trying to get the rights since KING OF HEARTS was a French film. At that time there were at least ten other producers around the world fighting for the same rights. I had fallen in love with this story and we both had become very excited about the possibilities of the project, so the thought of losing the rights to someone else was a most difficult prospect to face. Consequently we both went to Paris, wined and dined Phillippe DeBroca, the director of the film, for a solid week, bowled him over with our enthusiasm, and came home with the bacon.

 

I'll never forget the flight home. We were both so overjoyed we celebrated like crazy people all the way to Kennedy International.The first collaboration and the greatest creative period took place over three years beginning in 1976. A.J. Antoon and I brought together a book writer and lyricist, Steve Tesich and Jacob Brackman, and together we began a work process that was many times crazier than the show itself.

Steve Tesich was then a little known Yugoslavian playwright who had had several plays successfully produced at the American Place Theatre in New York. Since then his career has blossomed. He won the Oscar for his screenplay for BREAKING AWAY. We found Jacob Brackman by reading the backs of Carly Simon record album covers. I had always loved her lyrics and found much to my surprise that Jacob Brackman had written quite a few of the better ones. Jacob too is a screenwriter of some repute having written KING OF MARVIN GARDENS with Jack Nicholson and TIMES SQUARE.


Westport Production

Little did I know that I already had started one of the craziest experiences of my life. We spent three years working -- casting, writing, exploring, and developing KING OF HEARTS. In that time I think I had one of the most intensely creative periods of my life. To search the hearts of these lovable people every day for three years gave me a rare insight into the ways of lunacy. And the play's theme, "Who's really crazy?", struck home in countless fashions. My father fought in World War I in France in the trenches. I had long detailed discussions with him about his experiences. I went to several asylums to work with the inmates and learned much from them. I studied French classical and folk music, listened to all the pop war songs of the day and to a great deal of the classical music of the age.

 

We spent two years, three of four days a week, five or six hours a day, in deep discussion about the ramifications of every little scene, song, note, word and lyric. These meetings were the pure joy of the experience -- and they were full of creativity, laughs, tears, revelations, and yes, some fights too. But they were the epitome of theatrical collaboration and I must say they were probably the best times I ever had with KING OF HEARTS. In the course of that time, Jake and I wrote fifty or sixty songs together which we either threw out, rewrote and then threw out, or rewrote, rewrote again and then kept. I think CLOSE UPON THE HOUR is probably the only song in the show that was begun and finished in two days. On the first day I wrote the melody, gave it to Jake that night, and he gave it back to me the next day with a beautiful lyric. Not a word or note was ever changed.

Fortunately, that's not always how it was. I say "fortunately" because the joy of my work often comes in the rewriting, the thickening, the deepening. That is when the great collaborative process of the theatre really takes shape -- when you play a new song for the other guys and they come back at you with thirty great new ideas and then you try to decide how to combine them all into one poor little melody or song.

 

KING OF HEARTS first opened at the Westport County Playhouse where it had a two week run and starred Robbie Benson. I'd say the show was about seventy-five percent there. The first act went like gangbusters and the second act fell a little short. But all in all it was a very good learning experience for everyone. We had a good idea of where to take it after that in terms of revisions. At that point Joe Kipness, a wonderful man, decided to produce it on Broadway and then the downfall began.

Broadway Production

I've always thought that what happens in the play happened to the play. The outside world came in with their money and machines and worldly ways and brought them with untold confusion. Antoon, my dear friend and partner, was fired and replaced by a director who never really understood the piece. The worst mistake came the day we contracted the Minskoff Theatre, New York's second largest, as the place to showcase this sweet, simple, little musical against the wishes of all the artists involved. Money then seemed to dominate the decisions and as is the case in most Broadway shows, money rules.During our pre-Broadway tour, we opened in Boston with a new cast to great reviews (in a smaller, more intimate house) and tremendous audience reception. After a four week run we came charging into New York City with a hit. The two weeks of previews in New York went fabulously -- sold out and standing ovations every night.

Though I had blind hope, I knew in my heart that we had troubles.The sound in that big barn of a theatre was problematic and the theatre was just too big -- we had resculptured the show to fit the theatre and it was now coming off big and brassy. I feared the worst and hoped for the best. And even though the audiences laughed, cried, and cheered, we opened to mixed reviews in the middle of a three month newspaper strike. Two million bucks down the drain. And an incredible sadness in my heart. The show ran another five weeks and gained each week. The story and heart had somehow managed to shine through all the brassy trappings.

The theatre owner had his own ideas about our survival. He kicked us out in favor of THE ICE CAPADES. Now there was a show that belonged in the Minskoff. It would have cost another hundred thousand to move the KING, so it closed.Consequently the musical like the film was destined to become a cult classic.

Normally shows that are not successful on Broadway become resigned to oblivion. In this case, the KING would not die.The version offered now is the result of several productions following the demise of the Broadway one. The major changes occurred during a production at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh. Most of the Broadway "improvements" were discarded and it became again what it had begun as -- a labor of love.

There are several basic themes that run through the play, e.g., anti-war, the family against the world, and there have even been those who have suggested that the play actually promotes insanity. To me, it is simply a play about the innocence of love -- something beyond what we achieve in our every day life. It speaks of the joy of living in a simple time far removed from the real craziness of the outside world.

By Peter Link

 

 

King Of Hearts
Quotes
"King of Hearts" is a musical version of the wildly popular movie by Philippe de Broca and, unless I miss my guess, de Broca's Gallic whimsey is going to dazzle everyone in sight all over again. Deep in the center of "King of Hearts," there is something rare and pretty magical. The score by Peter Link, to lyrics by Jacob Brackman, is rich and full and just plain gorgeous, a marvel in its reach, in its moods, in its borrowed Gallic vitality and in its World War I razzmatazz. "King of Hearts" is going to be loved by a lot of people."
KEVIN KELLEY(Boston Globe Staff)

Penn State Production

Westport Production
'King of Hearts' is aces in anyone's game
" King of Hearts" is a warm and charming tale."
by Bonnie Goldberg (Middletown Press)
Charming 'King of Hearts' at Goodspeed
" King of Hearts," now playing at the Goodspeed Opera House, overflows with naive charm, joyous exuberance and hearttugging poignance."
by Phyllis S. Donovan (Record-Journal)

Goodspeed Production

 

 

 

King Of Hearts
Reviews

The New York Times
The Evening News (Edinburgh, Scotland)

The Day
The Scotsman
WNHU Radio Review Transcript
Show Music Magazine Article
Fan Mail From a Loving Father

 

 


ProProduction Photos from The Goodspeed Opera

 

 

How to lease KING OF HEARTS for your theatre:

 

Rental Contract:

 

Rental Agreement

 

 

Island Leasing
A Musical Flight

Music and Lyrics by Peter Link
Book by Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler
Concept by Brent Nicholson Earle
Island is a four character musical that takes place in Manchioneal, Jamaica, at an idyllic beach house set in Paradise. An American couple Michael and Carrie, return to the romantic setting of their marriage vows to try to find their lost relationship - lost in the confusion and stress of the modern day world of New York City.


They rekindle their off beat relation ship with a delightful and extraordinary Jamaican couple, Sparks and Delia, who own and rent out their beach house. Along the way they encounter the Island "magic" of old Moses, a Jamaican shaman who revolutionizes their way of thinking about their lives and their marriage.

 

Island Sample Music

Click titles to play

Castaway


Come Sail Away


I Paint De Boat


In Paradise


Start All Over


Without You

 

 

About The Creative Team
  Peter Link

Joe Bravaco
Joe Bravaco, with Larry Rosler, co-wrote the book for the Peter Link musical Island, which was performed at the Portland Stage Company. Mr. Bravaco is also the co-author of Break Point, produced by the Source Theatre in Washington, DC, and the librettist of The Flowering Thorn, a musical adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, which played at the Cubiculo Theatre in NYC. His one-act play Matthew's Navigator is the winner of three national one-act play competitions

Larry Rosler
Larry Rosler is the editorial director of a children's publishing house. As an actor, he toured in the National Company of Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox, starring Jackie Gleason and Cleavon Little, and appeared in the Kennedy Center production of Tina Howe's Museum. Other credits include the Circle Rep production of A. R. Gurney's Who Killed Richard Cory? and the Broadway production of David French's Of the Fields.

Brent Nicholson Earle
For over thirty years Brent Nicholson Earle has been a contributing member of the artistic community in New York City as an actor, writer, stage manager, lecturer, archivist, photographer, optical designer, curator and art gallery administrator. Throughout the Seventies, Earle held many positions at the New York Shakespeare Festival that included assisting the producer Joseph Papp and the composer Peter Link on several productions at the Public Theater, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. He also assisted Link on such Broadway productions as THE GOOD DOCTOR, THE MIGHTY GENTS and KING OF HEARTS. He went on to collaborate with Peter Link, developing two contemporary musicals with him, ISLAND and ON THE ROAD TO BABYLON, which premiered at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Company in Wisconsin.


In spite of his diverse creative resume, Brent Nicholson Earle is best known as an athlete, orator and activist. He has been on the front lines of the battle against AIDS since the onset of the epidemic in the early Eighties. He is the Founder and President of The American Run for the End of AIDS (AREA), Inc., a not-for-profit, all volunteer AIDS education and advocacy organization. From March 1, 1986 to October 31, 1987, he ran more than 9,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States to raise awareness and funds for the fight against AIDS.

 

 

 

Island Quotes

Creative.com

A musical treasure. A very special musical filled with joy, hope and humor. Haunting music.
A UNIQUE THEATRE - FritziCohen for Newscenter

Island, billed as a musical flight, is an evening of some thought and an abundance of rich and wonderful music. Exciting theatre. Good fun and great music. Take this "MUSICAL FLIGHT."
Brunswick Times Record

Audiences will love Island. Hightly enjoyable. Many fine tunes. Overall, it's an excellent production, highly enjoyable.
WBLM, Portland ME

Despite some finicky comments incumbent on a reviewer, Island is the kind of rare theatrical treat we don't get nearly enough of.
Jane Lamb, Sweet Potato

What better way to celebrate spring than a "MUSICAL FLIGHT" to the Caribbean Islands? Island is not only excellent but highly innovative as well. Sparks and Delia are so warm they steal our hearts almost immediately. Charming wit. The book writers were called in after its concert version in Millwaukee to make it a theatre piece and they have come a long way toward success. I was reminded of classics 110 In The Shade and Michael Weller's Loose Ends. Link's music is extraordinarily soothing. His ballads are superb.
Donna Prizzi, Portland Press Herald.


 

Island Reviews

 

 

 

Feature Articles
Rental Information
F

For more information on ISLAND, to obtain a perusal script, a CD or a rental contract,

call 212-244-0426

or e-mail us at

linkstudios@verizon.net

 

Peter Link Creative © 2004
linkstudios@verizon.net • 212.244.0426
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