City Of Dreams
A New Musical Play
Book and Lyrics by David Zellnik
Music by Joseph Zellnik

Vienna, 1889.
A dashing melancholic Prince
A 17- year-old social climber
and a love affair that threatens to topple an Empire.

A sweeping new musical about a glittering city
Waltzing on the edge of an abyss...

Winner! The National Music Theatre Network/BroadwayUSA 2003 Search for New Musicals
Winner! International Music Theatre Festival - back from its UK debut in Cardiff, Wales!
Winner! Named Best-of-Fest at the Midtown International Theatre Festival!

Reviews from the Midtown Int'l Theatre Festival, July '02 NYC: "Elegant... beautiful... heartbreaking" Louis Lopardi, Artzine. "The Zellnik brothers have really pulled it off! A compelling tale...a promising new musical!" Irene Backalenick, Backstage. "A passion-filled musical... extremely well-crafted, intelligent, sophisticated, melodic. Worth going to see for anyone who wishes to see promising works of new composers" Seth Bisen-Hersh, "From its glittering charm to its grittier reality, City of Dreams is captivating" Laura Shea, American Theatre Web. "Had this show simply retold his story, it would have made a perfect operetta, or even opera, featuring royalty and star-crossed lovers in a romantic setting. But those who have seen one musical melodrama too many can breathe easy. What emerges is an intelligent, insightful, and thoroughly engaging piece of musical theatre!" M. Lundskaer-Nielsen,

Other Honors For City of Dreams:

  • Finalist for the 2000 "Richard Rodgers New Musical" award!
  • Two songs appear on Alison Fraser's album "Men in My Life"!
About the show:
City of Dreams tells the passionate, dark love story of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary and his young mistress Mary Vetsera, culminating in their double suicide in 1889. It is also the intimate family drama of Rudolf and his parents - a progressive son's conflict with his reactionary father (long-reigning Emperor Franz Josef), a sensitive son's almost romantic relationship with his mother (half-mad, still beautiful, Empress Elizabeth.)

Set against this story, fittingly enough, is young Sigmund Freud -- trying to analyze the royal family (in 1889 he is an increasingly unemployable doctor due to his "radical" ideas) -- and young Gustav Klimt (in 1889 a realistic society portraitist.) Like their hero Rudolf, they feel young and unrecognized, kept down by Vienna's repressive status quo. And in the end, though Rudolf's death shocks them, it also pushes Freud towards his understanding of the competition inherent in all father and son relationships, and Klimt's growing belief of the interconnectedness between desire and death.

Classical, lush, dreamy, and romantic - the score grows out of the tradition of such shows as "Carousel" and "A Little Night Music." The book is at turns dramatic, funny, and lyrical, as it conjures up the vanished world of fin-de-siecle Vienna, a city of dreams about to wake up to a violent modern age - our own.