January 16, 2021

Noah Gordon: "I never imagined that 'The doctor' could be a musical" | Culture

Noah Gordon: "I never imagined that 'The doctor' could be a musical" | Culture



Noah Gordon he can not write anymore About to turn 92, his mind plays tricks on him. The author of novels that have become bestsellers recognizes that he usually forget words and that, sometimes, he wakes up in the middle of the night imagining new stories that he can not then put on paper. Something that for the American writer, who published his latest novel, The cellar, in 2007, it is "a small torture". Although he assumes that degradation "is part of life". Now, when his body allows him, Gordon travels. He comes to Spain often because his son and agent, Michael Gordon, has formed a family here. This time the visit has another incentive. It is here to support the premiere of the musical version of The doctor, his most recognized and celebrated work, at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo in Madrid.

This project, inspired by a title that has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, helps you cope with the inability to continue writing. "It is very exciting to see that my work translates into such wonderful initiatives," he said in an interview with EL PAÍS in a downtown hotel in Madrid. "I am very happy to see him in life," he adds.

Gordon has contributed ideas and notes throughout the process of creating this new large-format musical that emerged in the imagination of Huelva musician and composer Iván Macías. It was he, along with producer Pablo Martínez, who contacted Michael Gordon, son and agent of the writer, to get it going. After listening to some musical notes inspired by the novel, Gordon invited them to travel to Massachusetts (United States) to propose directly to his father. Once there, it did not take many words. Macias's music, it seems, was sufficiently persuasive. As Gordon has acknowledged on several occasions, he was able to see his novel and his characters through Huelva's compositions.

It is not easy for Noah Gordon to give up the rights to his work. For years he rejected proposals from filmmakers to adapt The doctor to the big screen. A feat that finally achieved the director Phillip Stolzl and the German producer UFA Cinema in 2013. With the theatrical adaptations, Gordon does not resist so much resistance. Music conquers it, although he assures that if they had asked him a few years ago, he would not have believed that his long novel, of more than 600 pages, could be transformed into a theatrical spectacle. Now, however, in addition to the Madrid production, another one, completely different, is released in Germany.

His work is still interesting three decades after its publication. "It's about people who are born, they get old, sometimes they get sick and they die." "Man's war against death." Now we have technological equipment and super-medicines, but the fact of wanting to make death disappear is the same at any time, and that's the base of the story, "argues the author, who worked as a journalist specializing in science and health for a long time-began to study medicine encouraged by his parents, but soon abandoned-on this adventure novel starring a young English barber who crosses Half the world to study medicine in Isfahan, the world capital of the discipline in the eleventh century.

To that remote universe Ivan Macias wants to transfer the 21st century Spanish viewer through music and dance that make up a show of epic and symphonic overtones that he drinks from great titles such as The Miserables or Miss Saigon, of the French Schönberg and Boublil, reference of the great musical, almost operatic, of the last decades. To achieve this, he has been surrounded by the choreographer Francesc Abós and the director José Luis Sixto, both seasoned in the musical genre, the veteran set designer Alfons Flores, responsible for montages in the main opera theaters of the world, or the renowned and award-winning designer Lorenzo Caprile. "I think that with any of my books a musical could be made if a team like this did," says Gordon a few hours after watching the show.

So far he has only listened to music and has met the cast of 33 actors and 20 musicians. And he says he's anxious to see the result. He only has good words for this production. "I love theater, I go to Broadway a lot and this musical has captivating moments," he adds shortly after recalling that his passion comes long, from a time when Europe and the United States were very different, when musical theater was beginning to take shape. "At 18, at the end of World War II, just before entering the army and with two good friends, I went to New York and spent several days watching shows," he recalls. When asked a title he saw mentioned Oklahoma!, title of Rodgers and Hammerstein considered as the first modern musical, which premiered in 1943 and has been replenished on multiple occasions.

That famous New York avenue is where you would like the Spanish production of The doctor. "I think it has depth and wonderful music, the adaptation of the story is great and the actors magnificent, I think I should go to many places." Especially that one. "One of my hopes to see him on Broadway," he says.

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