The classic Faustus story is getting a Broadway spin on June 25, when Broadway Records releases the cast recording for In the Light, A Faustian Tale—headlined by one of the stage’s most versatile performers, Jeremy Jordan (American Son, Smash, upcoming in Little Shop of Horrors). The album is available for pre-order on iTunes now, with immediate access to the first four songs.
The new musical follows Dr. Johann Faustus, played by Jordan, as he finds himself accused of blasphemy. Facing a terrifying charge, he’s guided on a new journey by a being known only as the Traveler (portrayed by Company‘s Bobby Conte Thornton) and meets the seemingly helpful Gretchen (Solea Pfeiffer of Almost Famous: The Musical and Hamilton). But their plans to rebel against the Holy Inquisition are thrown into turmoil by their own flaws, and tragedy unfolds.
The album is the product of over a half-decade of hard work from the creative team. “Through years of development via table readings, presentations and workshops, our little musical originally inspired by Goethe’s Faust and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus has matured into this gigantic original story about greed, power and lust,” said composer Michael Mott via press release.
“It has always been my goal as a composer and lyricist to create the next generation of classic, epic American musical theatre and I believe audiences are hungry for a large, lush, fresh score with timeless yet contemporary sensibilities to be introduced into the musical theatre canon,” he added. “I could not be more proud of our diverse, insanely talented cast, monstrous orchestra and top class production team that dedicated all of themselves to making sure this recording was the absolute best it could be.”
The main cast also includes Ciara Renee (Frozen on Broadway, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Antonio Cipriano (Jagged Little Pill), Anne Fraser Thomas (Hercules), Aisha Jackson (also of Frozen) and Zachary James (the stage version of The Addams Family). While the vocal talent at the top is enough to make this upcoming album worth a listen, the story behind it is equally important.
“When I was first brought to this project six years ago, I struggled to connect with the title character, Johann Faustus,” added Nathan Wright, who co-wrote the book with Justin Silvestri. “As a playwright, I like to think I write from my heart and gut, but I couldn’t find an authentic way into understanding who Johann was…It wasn’t until we began to talk about Johann’s choices as responses to his trauma that I realized what I had been subconsciously creating with my collaborators. I had connected the Inquisition’s vilification of Johann’s life’s work to my own traumatic relationship with religious authority as a Queer man raised Mormon.
“At first, I was embarrassed by how I hadn’t seen it and others had, but as the work has progressed, I now see that this journey of collaborative effort has been very much a journey of personal healing,” he continued. “I’m so grateful for those who welcomed me to this team 6 years ago, and, as Michael says, the musical has now become its own entity. The work of so many has come together to build a new living piece of art.
“For me In the Light, A Faustian Tale is ultimately about the healing each of us must do to move through our trauma; it is a job none of us can do alone.”
The best of Broadway theater, like any form of art, is something that makes us change the way we look at ourselves. With this new take on a longstanding story, In the Light, A Faustian Tale promises not only something original and a whole boatload of impressive artistry—but a musical that’s going to provide plenty of food for thought at a time when we can certainly use it.
In the Light, A Faustian Tale releases on June 25; pre-order the album now through iTunes and hear the first four tracks.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.