By Adam Hetrick
24 Feb 2014
The short-lived musical, which features music by Debra Barsha, lyrics by Ira Gasman, Stuart Ross and Barsha, and a book by Ross, premiered at The Public Theater in 2003 under the direction of George C. Wolfe. The musical was suggested by "Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography" by John Gruen.
The 9:30 PM benefit concert at Joe's Pub is presented by Theatre C, in consultation with Two River Theater. The two theatre companies are working to present a fully-staged production of the musical in the near future, which will re-conceive Radiant Baby as a 360-degree immersive experience, "complete with supercharged choreography, surround-sound and video."
Keenan-Bolger (Newsies, "Looking") stars as Haring in a cast that also features Tony nominee De Jesús (In the Heights, Domesticated), Loh (Here Lies Love), Nikka Graff Lanzerone, Sean Allan Krill, Sawyer Nunes, Brian Charles Rooney, Ashanti J'Aria, Chris Hall, Alet Taylor, Shaleah Adkisson, John Edwards and Ariana DeBose.
Here's how the concert presentation is billed: "The audience members are the guests to the grand Party of Life in 1990, celebrating Haring's body of work. The event abruptly transforms into an unexpected journey down the rabbit hole of his existence. As we go on this raging ride, we face the joys, obsessions, inspirations, and addictions that defined Haring's short yet unparalleled life, from unassuming art nerd to superstar maestro and activist."
Haring's simple, playful paintings of dancing figures and glowing babies made him a beloved icon of the '80s and one of America's last true art stars. The show tracks his life from his arrival in New York from rural Pennsylvania, to his discovery of the Manhattan gay club scene, his early guerilla drawings in subway stations, his later fame in Soho galleries, and, finally, his early death from AIDS.
The Off-Broadway world premiere starred Daniel Reichard as Haring.
Barsha's score drew on styles that dominated in the late '70s and '80s, the music she had danced to, including hip-hop, pop, club music and synthesizer music.
For tickets visit JoesPub.com.