ERIK HAAGENSEN's theatrical career encompasses the roles of playwright, lyricist, and director. His stage musicals include O. HENRY DUET (music by Eric Stern, based on two short stories by the American author), A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE (music by Richard Isen, based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle; published and licensed by Samuel French) and HOW IT WAS DONE IN ODESSA (music by Alexander Zhurbin, based on a play and short stories by Isaac Babel and a Russian language musical by Asar Eppel and Alexander Zhurbin), which have been seen in such varied venues as Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre, New Jersey's American Stage Company, Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House and Eugene O'Neill Center and New York City's Playwrights Horizons.
His most recent work, a musical version of Edith Wharton's novel SUMMER, with music by Paul Schwartz, was selected to receive a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works grant and won a Richard Rodgers Development Award. SUMMER has had readings in NYC at Manhattan Theatre Club, York Theatre Company, and Musical Theatre Works. It was chosen as one of nine musicals (culled from 186 entries from 16 countries) to be showcased in the International Festival of Musical Theatre's "Sony Global Search for New Musicals" Cardiff, Wales in October/November of 2002.
Erik has also been involved in the reworking of existing shows. He wrote the narration for the official concert version of Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE, which had its world premiere with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of David Zinman. He reconstructed Alan Jay Lerner and Bernstein's original, pre-Broadway version of their 1976 musical, 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, and then directed it in a production by the Indiana University Opera Theatre that was ultimately presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. He was subsequently commissioned by the Bernstein estate to write a new adaptation of 1600, which received a concert reading in New York City.
Erik also revised and adapted the Jule Styne/E.Y. Harburg/Nunnally Johnson musical, DARLING OF THE DAY, for York Theatre Company's Musicals in Mufti concert reading series. It will receive a full production in Chicago in 2005 at Light Opera Works in honor of Jule Styne's centenary, and an invitation-only industry reading of the show is planned for September of this year in New York City.
Erik devised the musical revue TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE: The Lyrics and Life of John Latouche, which played to considerable critical acclaim off-Broadway at The York Theatre Company in February/March of 2000 and was subsequently recorded by Original Cast Records. It weaves journal excerpts, letters, interviews and published writings of Latouche with his theatre songs to tell the story of the brilliant, artistically adventurous, openly gay lyricist and librettist of such works as CANDIDE, THE GOLDEN APPLE, CABIN IN THE SKY and THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE, who died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of only 41 in 1956. Actor-singer Eddie Korbich won an Obie Award for his performance in the York Theatre production. The show has just been licensed by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatre Library.
Erik holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and a Masters Degree in Writing for the Musical Theatre from New York University. In addition to his theatre work, he produced the only complete recording of Alan Jay Lerner and Kurt Weill's LOVE LIFE, including much cut material, made archivally for the Kurt Weill Foundation. A recognized Lerner scholar, he served as archival consultant for an all-star benefit/tribute to Lerner, produced for the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and again for the New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan.
As a journalist, Erik is a writer and senior editor for Back Stage (where he has a recurring column, "Making Musicals," which focuses on craft issues) and has written for The Kurt Weill Newsletter, the Seattle Review, the Dramatists Guild Newsletter and Show Music Magazine. He also contributed the liner notes to RCA's re-release on CD of the Broadway cast album of THE GOLDEN APPLE by John Latouche and Jerome Moross, as well as the liner notes for TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE. He is a member of the Drama Desk, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his husband, casting director Joseph McConnell.