The La Jolla Playhouse is bringing the queen of disco to the stage with its world premiere “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” opening Nov. 7.
The staging charts the incomparable life of Donna Summer, from her modest Boston childhood to international stardom. Told through the dramatic lens of her final concert, the musical presents the complexities and conflicts the iconic songwriter and singer faced in her meteoric rise – and descent.
Featuring three actresses in the title role and a score with more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff,” the experience is touted as a tribute to a generation.
La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (“Tommy,” “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”) is joined by “Jersey Boys” choreographer Sergio Trujillo for “Summer,” which aims to combine touching drama with the propulsive, kinetic heart of a disco concert.
La Jolla Playhouse Artisic Director Christopher Ashley said he didn’t really know much about Donna Summer, other than her music, until McAnuff pitched the staging.
“I had no idea of the distance between her public and private selves. Packaged by her record company and hyped by the media, she was trapped in an oversized sex goddess cliché to suit the permissive and unbridled no-holds-barred disco arena,” he said.
“Summer’s persona was more singular and complicated — she wanted to be more than a disco icon,” he continued. “She saw the end of an era looming and faced the challenge of becoming the boss of her personal and professional destiny.”
“I thought of the show as a great metaphor for all of us who look back at our younger selves and see the dreamers we were and who we became as adults,” he added.
“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” runs through Dec. 17. For more information, visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org/donna-summer.
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