Did Stanley Livingston read "The Picture of Dorian Gray," or at least a synopsis of it, before he updated it for his new musical "Dorian"?
The most basic element of Oscar Wilde's story--that Dorian's portrait decays while his body remains young--apparently eluded Livingston. In "Dorian," at Harman Avenue Theatre, the portrait never changes. Nor does the personality of the "Dorian" character, a rock 'n' roll chanteuse named Jennifer--at least not as much as you would expect. This is a "Dorian" without the decadence.
The narrative trips in its first scenes, when Jennifer rejects her faithful boyfriend-- before she's truly tempted by wealth and fame (which have replaced everlasting youth and sensuality as Dorian's goals). Her action isn't explained, but she certainly isn't committing a callous act of betrayal. In fact, we don't know why these two were ever an item. When they sing, "I Only Remember the Laughter," we don't even remember that much.
Having wasted the opportunity for Jennifer to jilt her guy when it would matter more to the audience, Livingston is at a loss for other mean stunts for her to pull. Finally, long after she's a star, she spends a night with her best friend's gentleman caller. The friend responds with a positive ditty about changing her life and then turns around and tries to kill herself--not because she would do that sort of thing, but because Jennifer needs a reason to feel wretched.