Featuring music by Alan Menken (Oscar and Tony Award-winning composer of Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, and currently represented on Broadway with Aladdin and the new musical A Bronx Tale) and book and lyrics by award-winning lyricist-librettist David Spencer (best known as lyricist co-librettist of Weird Romance and author of the industry standard book, The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide), this new musical adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s beloved tale is both uproarious and moving. The booklet includes complete lyrics, production photography, notes about the production and its history by award-winning author and journalist Sean Silcoff (who had covered the production extensively for Canada’s premiere national newspaper, The Globe and Mail), and a spirited, full synopsis by the show’s narrator and co-star character, Max (“I’m the father”) Kravitz. The album, produced by Rick Kunis, Alan Menken, David Spencer and musical director Jonathan Monro, will be available for pre-order on November 11.
Based on the literary classic – which also inspired the 1974 film starring Richard Dreyfuss and Randy Quaid – The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is set on the streets of 1950s Montreal and the countryside of St. Agathe. Ambitious, spiky, relentlessly driven, Duddy Kravitz is on the cusp of adulthood and hustling to climb the social ladder. Obsessed with his grandfather’s maxim, “A man without land is nobody,” and desperate to prove himself, he risks making his name at the expense of those he loves; it all comes down to choosing what kind of man he’s going to be.
The recording of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz preserves the invigorating musical energy of the 2016 World Premiere, Canadian production at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Montreal, Québec, that was directed by Austin Pendleton, the Tony Award-nominated actor and director. The Montreal Gazette raved “there’s much to enjoy in this audaciously unorthodox musical.” The Metropolitan called it “a fearless, reimagined version of Richler’s classic novel.” The Montreal Times added “the show boasts a number of songs, running from poignant and romantic to comic, that will leave you humming.” And renowned American theatre journalist Peter Filichia rated the show a “masterpiece,” placing it alongside Hamilton as “the other best musical of 2015.”
Spencer and Menken had taken a previous crack at Duddy Kravitz for an entirely different musical adaptation, with book by another writer, that played in Philadelphia in 1987. Though the results were mixed, the songwriters were too invested in the story, and the work it inspired in them, to let go, and decided to reboot their efforts. Spencer took on the librettist’s role, crafting a new adaptation from scratch; about ¾ of the Philly score was replaced (and the rest revised), and after a long developmental history, the all-new approach debuted at the Segal Centre to become a rave-reviewed, sold-out hit, twice extended. (Composer Menken and lyricist-librettist Spencer had previously collaborated on the Off Broadway cult favorite science fiction musical, Weird Romance.)
Heading a cast of some of Canada’s finest actors are Ken James Stewart in the title role (“an impressive star performance” — The Suburban), George Masswohl as his father, Max Kravitz, and Marie-Pierre de Brienne as Duddy’s love interest, Yvette. Additionally featured in key roles are Adrian Marchuk, Victor A. Young, Howard Jerome, David Coomber, Sam Rosenthal, Michael Rudder, and Kristian Truelsen. The versatile ensemble consists of Albane Chateau, Gab Desmond, Julia Halfyard, Michael Esposito II and Michael Daniel Murphy.