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From the Artistic Director about Violet

From the Artistic Director about Violet

The musical Violet, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book & lyrics by Brian Crawley, directed by Leigh Silverman begins previews this week at the American Airlines Theatre.

This production marks the Broadway debut ofViolet, and a long-awaited one at that. When the show made its debut off-Broadway in 1997, it ran for only four weeks, but with the help of a cult-favorite cast recording, its reach went far beyond that short appearance in New York. The musical has since been performed all over the country, from regional theatres to college campuses, with its vibrant score conjuring the sounds of the American South of the 1960s and continually earning the piece new devotees.

Those fans have been clamoring to see Violet get its due on Broadway, and I'm thrilled that Roundabout has the opportunity to fulfill that wish. It may be a chamber musical with a relatively small cast, but the themes are so big in both scope and impact that a larger stage feels absolutely right. This chance to revive Violet also gave its creators the opportunity to revisit the text and make changes that have been on their minds for years. Both Jeanine and Brian originally envisioned Violet as a musical without an intermission, and they are returning to that idea now. I think you'll agree that something feels very right about getting on that Greyhound bus with Violet at the beginning of her journey in North Carolina and sticking with her all the way through to the end. It allows for an uninterrupted bond with the character that is wonderfully impactful.

Bringing Violet back now also gives us a chance to reexamine the show's message of self-acceptance in a new light. It's easy to think that believing in ourselves is just a cliché, but it's a lesson that many people find impossible to learn. The character of Violet is haunted each and every day by the disfiguring scar on her face (which is left to the audience's imagination, a theatrical choice that I think is fantastic). Her journey is driven by the need to fix herself and attain the physical perfection that has eluded her. For Violet, the only choice is to seek out a faith healer, but today our options are endless, and so is the pursuit of them. Between surgeries and injections and creams and dyes and workouts, the pressure to "fix" ourselves physically is at a high. It makes Violet's journey all the more powerful now, when the temptation to trade self-acceptance in for self-improvement is all around us.

Of course, another major reason to be doing Violet is Sutton Foster. Sutton became a beloved member of the Roundabout family with Anything Goes, and I've been eager to have her back with us ever since. She's an incredible artist, and there is something about the combination of her talent and Jeanine Tesori's music that is truly special (if you saw her Tony-winning performance inThoroughly Modern Millie, you certainly know what I mean). The role of Violet fits Sutton like a glove, and I cannot wait for you to see her.

Violet is a lively, deeply-felt, exciting musical, and I hope that you enjoy its Broadway debut. As always, I invite you to share your thoughts with me by emailingartisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org. Your feedback is always helpful to me.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Sincerely,

Todd Haimes
Artistic Director

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Roundabout Theatre Company Roundabout Theatre Company is a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing a nurturing artistic home for theatre artists at all stages of their careers where the widest possible audience can experience their work at affordable prices. Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the revival of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established playwrights and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate loyal audiences.