Grey Gardens Hits Broadway in October w/ Ebersole and Wilson
Based on the legendary 1975 documentary Grey Gardens (by David Maysles, AlBert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer & Susan Froemke a Maysles Brothers Films Inc. Production), the musical features a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, the film Quills based on his own play), music by Scott Frankel (musical director for Broadway's Falsettos, Putting It Together) and lyrics by Michael Korie (Harvey Milk). Directed by Tony Award nominee and Obie winner Michael Greif (Rent), the musical has musical staging by Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun (Big River, Grease!).
GREY GARDENS concerns both the deliciously eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who were once among the brightest names in the pre-Camelot social register, but became East Hampton's most notorious recluses, living in a dilapidated 28-room mansion. Set in two eras in 1941 when the estate was in its prime and in 1973 when it was reduced to squalor the musical tells the alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking story of two indomitable individuals, Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter 'Little' Edie.
Critics have praised GREY GARDENS as "A weird and wonderful, boldly-imaginative musical" (David Rooney, Variety), "A dark and fascinating work with a stylish score that hearkens back to the sound of George Gershwin and Cole Porter" (David Cote, NY-1 News), "Madly enjoyable" (Michael Sommers, Star-Ledger), "First-rate a beautiful production, beautifully crafted writing and sumptuous performances" (Michael Feingold, Village Voice) and "Lusciously designed and stunningly performed. GREY GARDENS brings great wit and luster to the musical season" (Howard Kissel, Daily News). Praising the show in Time Magazine, Richard Zoglin unknowingly foreshadowed, "GREY GARDENS might have been the best Broadway musical of the season, except that it can't move to Broadway because all the theaters are filled" and Liz Smith wrote, "A trip to GREY GARDENS is worth every step. If it opened on Broadway it would surely be nominated for quite a few Tony Awards!"
Critics have also unanimously bestowed legendary status on the performance of leading lady Christine Ebersole (who actually gives two performances in the musical: as Edith Beale in Act One and her daughter 'Little' Edie Beale in Act Two). In The New York Times, theater critic Ben Brantley raved that her performance is "One of the most gorgeous ever to grace a musical" and music critic Stephen Holden called it a "Theatrical Triumph." Linda Winer of Newsday called it "The performance of her amazing career," Jeremy McCarter of New York Magazine praised it as "The best performance in New York" and Variety proclaimed it "The kind of performance that comes around once in a decade and will be talked about for decades more."
For her performance, Ms. Ebersole has won an Outer Critics Circle Award, an Obie Award, a special citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Drama League's 2006 Distinguished Performance of the Year Award (male or female, Broadway or Off-Broadway), as well as a Drama Desk nomination.
Praising both leading ladies, Eric Grode of The New York Sun wrote, "Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson give the finest pair of performances on a New York stage today." And Ben Brantley in The New York Times enthused, "The excellent Mary Louise Wilson gives a touching, fiercely naturalistic performance." Ms. Wilson has earned Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lortel nominations and has been honored by the Drama League for her performance.
The Broadway production of GREY GARDENS will reunite the original creative and design team, featuring scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by five-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Peter Kaczorowski, sound design by Brian Ronan and projections by Wendall K. Harrington. Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin and Music Director is Lawrence Yurman.
With the Spring awards season well underway, GREY GARDENS has already started racking up a sizable number of nominations and honors. The musical has earned 12 Drama Desk nominations including Best Musical (more than any other Off-Broadway production), 7 Outer Critics Circle nominations including Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical (more than any new musical this season) and 5 Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including Best Musical (more than any other musical this season).
The musical has so far won 2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical and Christine Ebersole for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway). GREY GARDENS was also the winner of a 2006 Richard Rodgers Production Award, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
GREY GARDENS had its World Premiere at Playwrights Horizons, completely selling out its initial limited engagement (February 10 March 26, 2006) before it even opened. It went on to sell-out three extensions, through its final performance on April 30, which was the latest it could play due to the theater company's continuing season. The overwhelming ticket demand lead WCBS-TV to proclaim the musical "Off-Broadway's Hottest Ticket!"
As previously announced, the score of GREY GARDENS praised as "a flavorful score [that] sings in an original and enthralling way" (Peter Marks, The Washington Post) was recently preserved. Produced by the Grammy-nominated label PS Classics, the World Premiere recording features the entire original Off-Broadway cast and will be released in late summer (date to be announced). For future updates, visit www.psclassics.com.
Complete casting, performance schedule and ticket information for GREY GARDENS including on sale dates for tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.
For future news, visit the soon-to-launch website www.greygardensthemusical.com.
Christine Ebersole ('Little' Edie Beale / Edith Bouvier Beale) has won an Outer Critics Circle Award, Obie Award, special citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Drama League's 2006 Distinguished Performance of the Year Award, as well as a Drama Desk nomination for her dual performance in Grey Gardens. Her Broadway credits include Steel Magnolias, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), 42nd Street (Tony and Outer Critics Circle awards), The Best Man, Getting Away With Murder, Harrigan 'n' Hart, Camelot (with Richard Burton), Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife and Angel Street. Off-Broadway work includes Talking Heads (Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards, Drama Desk nomination), Current Events, Three Sisters, Geniuses and four productions for Encores!. Of her many film & TV appearances, select credits include Tootsie, Amadeus, "Saturday Night Live" (as a series regular), "Gypsy" (CBS), "One Life to Live" (Emmy nomination) and "Will & Grace." In addition to the cast recordings of shows she's appeared in, her CDs include In Your Dreams and Live at the Cinegrill. In Grey Gardens, Miss Ebersole plays the mother, Edith Bouvier Beale, in Act One (taking place in 1941) and her daughter, "Little" Edie Beale, in Act Two (taking place in 1973).
Mary Louise WILSON (Edith Bouvier Beale) has been nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lortel awards and been honored by the Drama League for her performance in Grey Gardens. She starred in Full Gallop, a play about the legendary Diana Vreeland co-authored by Ms. Wilson with Mark Hampton. Her performance won an Obie and Drama Desk Award and the play has been produced across the country, as well as in London, Australia, South Africa, South America, France, Italy and Uruguay. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Fraulein Schneider in the Broadway revival of Cabaret, and her many other Broadway credits include Show Boat, Prelude to a Kiss, The Odd Couple, Philadelphia Story, Fools, Gypsy and The Royal Family.
Doug Wright (Book) received the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award and a Lucille Lortel Award for I Am My Own Wife, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2003. For Grey Gardens, he's been nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Book of a Musical. In 1995, Doug won an Obie Award for his play Quills. His screen adaptation was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and nominated for three Academy Awards. Plays include: The Stonewater Rapture, Interrogating the Nude, Watbanaland and Unwrap Your Candy. For career achievement, Doug was cited by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Currently, he serves on the board of the New York Theater Workshop and the Dramatist Guild Council.
Scott Frankel (Music) has been nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his work on Grey Gardens. He's written the music for Doll (Ravinia Festival; Richard Rodgers Award) and Meet Mister Future (Winner, Global Search for New Musicals), both with lyricist/librettist Michael Korie. As a music director, conductor and pianist, he has been associated with the original Broadway productions of Into the Woods, Les Misérables, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Rags and Falsettos, as well as Off-Broadway's Putting It Together starring Julie Andrews. Motion picture credits include Mike Nichols' Postcards From The Edge, where he can be seen (and heard) playing for Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. His many recordings include Barbra Streisand's Back to Broadway and a slew of original cast albums. Mr. Frankel is a two-time fellow of the MacDowell Colony and a graduate of Yale University.
Michael Korie (Lyrics) has been nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his work on Grey Gardens. He wrote book and lyrics to Scott Frankel's music for Doll (Sundance Institute, Chicago's Ravinia Festival; Richard Rodgers Award) and Meet Mister Future (Cardiff Festival, 2005.) His librettos for operas composed by StewArt Wallace include Harvey Milk (San Francisco Opera); Hopper's Wife (Long Beach Opera; NYFA Award) both directed by Christopher Alden; Kabbalah (Next Wave Festival); Where's Dick? directed by Richard Foreman (Houston Grand Opera). His libretto to composer Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath premieres at Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera in 2007. He co-wrote lyrics with Amy Powers to composer Lucy Simon's Zhivago, book by Michael Weller, directed by Des McAnuff (La Jolla Playhouse, 2006). Korie's lyrics were awarded The Edward Kleban Award and Jonathan Larson Foundation Award. He lives with Ivan Sygoda.
Michael Greif (Director) has been nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle awards for Grey Gardens. Recent: Noah Haidle's Mr. Marmalade (Roundabout), Nilo Cruz's Beauty of the Father (MTC), Neal Bell's Spatter Pattern (Playwrights Horizons), The Cherry Orchard (Williamstown). Broadway: Jonathan Larson's Rent (Tony nom.), Never Gonna Dance. NYSF: Suzan-Lori Parks' Fucking A, Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters (Obie), Jose Rivera's Marisol, Pericles, Connie Congdon's Casanova, Tony Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day, Sophie Treadwell's Machinal (Obie). NYTW (Artistic Associate): Cavedweller; Bright Lights, Big City; Rent (Obie). Off-Broadway: LaBute's The Distance From Here (MCC), Betty Rules (Zipper), Guare's A Few Stout Individuals (Signature), Bell's Monster (CSC). Regional: La Jolla (Artistic Director 1995-1999): Our Town, Sweet Bird of Youth, Diana Son's Boy, Randy Newman's Faust (also Goodman), Kushner's Slavs (also Taper), Bell's Therese Raquin. Williamstown: Guare's Landscape of the Body, Street Scene, Tonight at 8:30, The Seagull.
Jeff Calhoun (Musical Staging) directed and choreographed the Roundabout revival and national tour of Big River (Tony and Drama Desk nominations, Best Revival; Drama Desk nomination for Best Director of a Musical; Ovation and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards for Direction and Choreography). He made his Broadway directing debut with Tommy Tune Tonight and collaborated with Tommy Tune on The Will Rogers Follies. He directed and choreographed the Broadway revival of Grease! (Tony nomination), co-choreographed the Tony Award-winning revival of Annie Get Your Gun and directed and choreographed the recent Brooklyn the Musical, which launches its national tour in June.
East of Doheny (Producer), founded in 1997 by Kelly Gonda, is a multi-faceted independent Production Company which finances, develops and produces a full slate of theater, film, and television projects. The company made its Broadway debut with the 1997 premiere of Tennessee Williams' Not About Nightingales (seven Tony nominations including Best Play). Beth Williams, who created and helmed the Theatrical Production division at Clear Channel Entertainment, joined Ms. Gonda as Executive Producer in September 2005. East of Doheny's other Broadway credits include Sweet Smell of Success starring John Lithgow (seven Tony nominations including Best Musical); last season's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (five Tony nominations); the acclaimed Deaf West revival of Big River (Special Tony Award Honor for Excellence); Eve Ensler's The Good Body; 'Night, Mother starring Edie Falco and Brenda Blethyn, and Match starring Frank Langella. Additional theater credits include the West End productions of The Full Monty; Cressida and Napoleon; the national tour of Art starring Judd Hirsch, and the Los Angeles production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song. East of Doheny's first film production, A Time for Dancing, premiered as a Showtime original picture in 2004. Film producer Tracey Trench, whose credits include Herbie: Fully Loaded with Lindsay Lohan; Just Married with Ashton Kutcher, and The Pink Panther with Steve Martin, joined the company in 2005 heading up the Feature Film and Television division with Ms. Gonda. The company also produced the television presentation of Trevor Nunn's The Merchant of Venice, which aired on the BBC and as a "Masterpiece Theatre" presentation on PBS. East of Doheny is a member of the privately-held Lexington Entertainment Group, a diversified media and entertainment company.
Playwrights Horizons, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American Playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work. In its 35 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 350 writers and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Notable productions include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Doug Wright, Michael Korie and Scott Frankel's Grey Gardens, Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Craig Lucas's Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's Tony Award-winning James Joyce's The Dead, Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You and Betty's Summer Vacation, Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere and Franny's Way, Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room, A.R. Gurney's Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.