Jason Robert Brown & Marsha Norman Discuss THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY Creation
Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown teams with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman for the new Broadway musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and the creators discuss the project as part of a new interview.
Sharing of the impetus for THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, Brown candidly relates, "I had scored a play of Marsha's [Last Dance] at Manhattan Theatre Club, and several years later, we had a great time working on a piece called The Trumpet of the Swan, which the Kennedy Center had commissioned for us. We had such a great time that we said, "Oh, we have to write a real musical together." What I really wanted to do was write something very grand, like La Traviata, something with a lot of singing. I had been working on 13 and Honeymoon in Vegas, these goofy, very light shows, and I really wanted to dig in. So I said to Marsha, "Let's start looking for La Traviata," and she said, "You mean, actually La Traviata?" And I said, "I don't know!" And then Marsha got a call..."
Norman counters with a continuation of the story, offering, "...from James Lapine. Robert James Waller's agent had approached him about doing The Bridges of Madison County as a musical, and he had told them they really didn't want him, they needed me. So they called me, and I called Jason, and that was it. The material satisfied Jason's requirements for people to sing and sing and sing and sing, but it didn't have any other characters in it. It didn't have story. But that's good for me. I like having a project where there's something for me to do. I got to fill in the town. I got to fill in the husband's story. I got to fill in the relationship with the children, so what you see is a big family story in the middle of which this incredible romance happens. Our agent said, "You need to get Kelli O'Hara." She read the treatment and said, "I'm in." Then she called Bartlett Sher. Bart read the treatment, he said, "I'm in." So it became that experience-not often had-where you know who you're writing for, and that made a big difference. It's the thing that teams used to do all the time: write for specific stars."
Check out the original article on the matter here.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride