About

12 - 21 September, 2014 in St. Petersburg Theatre of musical comedy premiere of the new grand project "Hollywood diva" will take place.

International team led by director Cornelius Baltus, who gave the city an absolute hit in recent seasons - the musical "Dance of Vampires", started to work to the new performance a year ago. At the heart of "Hollywood diva" is unknown in Russia musical comedy by Austrian composer Ralph Benatzky "Axel at the gates of heaven", story which takes place in Hollywood in the early twentieth century. In the center of intrigue - Hollywood actress Gloria Mills and secular reporter Axel, who hopes for a promotion by using Gloria.

The world premiere of this comedy was held September 1, 1936 in Vienna, on the stage operetta Theatre an der Wien. For the main role of the film actress Gloria many stars of film and theater, including Greta Garbo, were invited. However, in the end, the role went to then still an unknown in Austria Swedish actress - beautiful Zarah Leander (1907 - 1981). The very next day she woke up famous. Role of Axel played German actor Max Hansen (1897 - 1961).

The play was a great success and was shown more than two hundred times. Almost immediately after the premiere Zarah Leander has got a lot of attractive offers from numerous studio. And ultimately in the history of art this actress came not as theatrical performer, but as a movie star. In 1944, with her participation on the screens released film, created based on the operettaBenatzky (Russian title "Towards new shores").

All-Russian premiere of the work of Benatzky will take place at the Theatre of Musical Comedy. It was adapted for the stage by Cornelius Baltus, who was surprised this proposal at first:

 "Some time ago, when I once again came to St. Petersburg, Yuri Schwarzkopf asked me if I wanted to make a new show at the Theater of Musical Comedy. He offered me an operetta. I was amazed, because I have never done anything like it. But the proposal has aroused my curiosity, and I asked: "How do you see it?" The answer was: "We need a good story, which is close to a worldwide audience".

I scanned 127 operettas and take for a base libretto «Axel an der Himmelstur» by  Ralph Benatzky - the story of a Hollywood diva named Gloria and young, ambitious journalist Axel, who dreams of making a spectacular career . One of the reasons for my choice was the fact that the female lead should be an actress with a low voice instead of the usual for operetta soprano. Insanely difficult to find such, but it's very interesting!

When approval has been obtained, I set about the arduous work: cut back on the endless dialogues and write some new ones, remove one of the two intermissions and combining the efforts of other members of the production group, collect all the ideas in a new libretto.

Changed the name four times, today I finally see an updated play. It can be called a musical comedy, a little operetta, but almost musical, thanks to the special energy inherent in this genre.

Together with the production designer Kentaur we will recreate the majestic atmosphere of Hollywood 30s . With Adrian Werum we will make completely new orchestration and more vigorous scale version and add some new musical episodes. Six numbers of ensemble we planned together with the choreographer Dennis Callahan. Responsibility for the lighting lies on lighting designer Chris Hirst. And Tomas Strebel will provide great sound".