Next year, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death, a consortium called the Van Gogh Europe Foundation will honor the artist with events across three countries: exhibitions, tours, lectures, films, and … a musical.
But wait, you might be saying, isn’t there already a musical about van Gogh? Well, yes, there is — but it’s actually about the “life and times” of Vincent and his brother Theo, and it’s unclear if it’s ever been produced. This van Gogh musical is about Vincent, specifically “the painter’s struggle with mental illness, including the notorious episode which culminated in him slicing off part of his ear,” according to the Telegraph. And it will likely see the light of day.
The Van Gogh Europe Foundation doesn’t offer much in the way of details about the production, just this brief statement:
As a musical finale to the Van Gogh Year, the premiere of the musical Vincent will take place in the Autumn of 2015. A musical extravaganza produced by Albert Verlinde.
The Telegraph adds that the show will be staged in Amsterdam, that casting for the part of van Gogh is “ongoing,” and that the goal of the show is to “bring Vincent van Gogh’s works to life in a non-traditional way,” according to a spokeswoman for the Van Gogh Europe Foundation. I’m not sure how exactly a musical will illuminate the artwork rather than the man, particularly when the director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is comparing the artist to a “rock star,” but perhaps they can bring in some expert Chinese van Gogh imitators to paint and design the sets. Anyway, if musical treatment can happen for Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Jean-Michel, it can happen for Vincent. (Meanwhile I’m still waiting for Frida the musical, or Artemisia.)
The show won’t arrive in Amsterdam until fall 2015, but if you want to pay musical tribute to the artist in the meantime, please enjoy this personal favorite: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers’ “Vincent van Gogh.” The man loved color and he let it show.