I left the musical “Einstein’s Dreams” feeling that the score, lyrics, singing and overall production were so rich that I would enjoy seeing the show again to fully digest the creativity. The music certainly bears repeated listening.
The musical, presented by Prospect Theater Company and adapted from Alan Lightman’s “Einstein’s Dreams,” has book and lyrics by Joanne Sydney Lessner and music and lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum, with Cara Reichel directing and Milton Granger as music director. The staging runs 100 minutes without an intermission.
The plot is built around the great scientist Albert Einstein, who in 1905 is dreaming about the theories he is exploring. Einstein, portrayed by Zal Owen, has a habit of falling asleep at his desk, and from that people and events taking place in his mind burst into visibility and song that capture the progression of what turns out to be one of the great discoveries of all time--his theory of relativity, re-confirmed repeatedly through the years by scientists testing it. One amusing song in the show is “The Relativity Rag,” sung by Eisntein and the ensemble.
Throughout there is the periodic appearance of Josette, an imaginary woman who becomes Einstein’s muse. She is played by the delightfully seductive Alexandra Silber, who sings thrillingly, as in her early duet with Einstein in “I Will Never Let You Go,” repeated toward the end after Josette and Einstein sing the title number
In bringing Einstein to life on stage the musical encompasses one of his important actions, writing a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt, urging development of nuclear bombs because the Nazis were working to acquire them. That act is covered in a number called “Letter to Roosevelt,” by Einstein and the ensemble.
Others in the cast in include Talia Cosentino, Stacia Fernandez, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Michael McCoy, Tess Primack, Vishal Vaidya and Brennen Caldwell.
The scenic design by Isable Mengyuan Le features a huge circle against the back wall, with it alternating between a scientific motif to a clock, and Herrick Goldman’s lighting design figures prominently in giving an array of different impressions. Important projection design is by David Bengali. A platform overhead enables movement by cast members, with illumination at times highlighting them. At the left (from the audience viewpoint) is a staircase, from which Josette impressively descends. Period costumes are designed by Sidney Shannon.
A six-piece orchestra at the rear of the stage does a superb job with the score. It consists of music director Milton Granger at the piano and conducting, Bruce Doctor, percussion; Kiku Enomoto, violin; Jonathan Levine, woodwinds; Eleanor Norton, cello (Jessica Wang Dec. 10-14) and Saadi Zain, bass. At 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street. Reviewed November 21, 2019.