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Salem composer's musical 'Dorian' to open in Moscow

Randy Bowser debuted the work at Pentacle Theatre

By Barbara Curtin • Statesman Journal • October 17, 2010

Randy Bowser's musical "Dorian — The Remarkable Mr. Gray" will open in Moscow on Friday — and this time it's for real.

The Salem composer celebrated what he thought was the play's long-delayed opening in June, but it turns out those performances were additional previews, he said last week.

Instead, the Russian producer decided to give the musical a formal premiere this fall, at the start of Moscow's theater season, with one performance in the grand International House of Music. The play will then enter the repertory of The Stas Namin Centre in Gorky Park.

"That's great, I'm thrilled, and I can be there," Bowser said.

"Dorian" is a semi-operatic adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray." It's about a handsome man who manages to remain forever young, even as his portrait records his increasing age and debasement.

Bowser debuted the work at the Pentacle Theatre in 2008. Michael Butler, producer of the original "Hair" on Broadway, connected Bowser with Russian producer Stas Namin.

Bowser worked with Russian actors for three weeks that year, but ripples from the worldwide financial crisis kept the musical from opening as originally planned in 2009.

The upside of the off-again, on-again opening is that Bowser will get to attend this one. An anonymous benefactor paid for his ticket to Moscow, he said.

"I'll have to learn to say 'thank you' in Russian," he said. "They said I have to be prepared to come on stage."

The music hall is Moscow's equivalent to Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bowser said. The premiere will take place in a 500-seat theater. The Stas Namin Center has about 200 seats.

The Russian production uses abstract sets, as did the Salem production, said Bowser. However, the Russians have costumed their cast lavishly. That's a contrast to the Salem production, in which the actors dressed in gray with touches of color.

Because Bowser doesn't have many official duties in Moscow, he plans to do a lot of sightseeing with the woman who translated for him during his last visit.

"We'll go to the Kremlin, Red Square and the Moscow Art Theatre where Chekhov's plays were first produced and where Stanislavsky acted and directed," he said. "I've got to have my picture taken at the doorway where modern sensibilities of theater started." or (503) 399-6699

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