Rob Ashford to Helm Workshop for MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL

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Rob Ashford to Helm Workshop for MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Rob Ashford helmed a June reading for Alfred Uhry's musical version of John Berendt's 1994 best selling book MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. Producers Craig Haffner and and Anne Hamburger revealed intentions to take the new musical to London next, prior to a Broadway run. Now according to an Equity casting notice, the same team will helm a New York City workshop for the show on September 15-19.

Casting for the workshop has not been announced, but the cast for the reading included: Tony Goldwyn, Leslie Uggams, Peter Cincotti, Jessica Molaskey, Michael Park and Jake Robinson.

The project features standards from the American songbook, including the music of Johnny Mercer.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a non-fiction work by John Berendt. Published in 1994, the book was Berendt's first, and became a The New York Times bestseller for 216 weeks following its debut. The book was subsequently made into a 1997 movie, directed by Clint Eastwood and based loosely on Berendt's story. The film features Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams and John Cusack as John Kelso.

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.

Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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