Rupert Holmes Brings All-New “…Drood” to Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]
In 1983 successful pop singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” “Him,” “Timothy” – concocted a plan to make a musical out of Charles Dickens’ unfinished final work The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He had the extraordinary opportunity to present this concept to Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival (now the Public Theatre), which led to a 1985 summer-time run in Central Park and a transfer to Broadway shortly thereafter. The show went on to win several Tony Awards, including Best Musical as well as Best Book and Best Original Score for Holmes. (For a full and fascinating history of Holmes’ journey with this show, click HERE.)
Holmes’ original version ran over three hours, and ever since he has been in the process of pruning it. Everything was tightened up between the Central Park run and Broadway – even the title was shortened to simply Drood. He did rewrites again for the 1987 London production and the 1988 American touring production.
Fast forward 30-odd years and Holmes decided to take another crack at the show, this time reducing it to 90 minutes and paring down the orchestrations (uniquely, Holmes orchestrated his own show) to create a chamber version which was presented at a theater in North Carolina. Hubbard Hall Artistic Director David Snider had had …Drood on his short list for some time, but when he sought information on the chamber version from Raleigh there was no answer. Then he heard from Rupert Holmes himself!