Click Here for More Articles on JULIE ANDREWS

Broadway Bullet Interview: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables Website 

We profile the new musical version of the classic book "Anne of Green Gables and interview creator Nancy Ford and actors Piper Goodeve and Jessica Grove . Also, they did an exclusive in studio performance of two songs from the show "I Can Stay" and "Making Up for Lost Time."

Nancy Ford also created "The American Girl Revue" and "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road" with Gretchen Cryer. The two of them will also be performing in an upcoming cabaret at 59E59.

Piper Goodeve is making her off-Broadway debut and has performed at theatres around the country. She's currently earning her MFA in drama at Brown.

Jessica Grove appeared on Broadway in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Les Miserables." She also recently completed the National tour of "The Boy Friend" directed by Julie Andrews.

"Anne of Green Gables" is playing at the Lucille Lortel Theatre every weekend through May 5th.
For tickets please visit Ticket Central .

You can listen to this interview and many other great features for free on Broadway Bullet vol. 108. Subscribe for free so you don't miss an episode.

 or MP3 Feed with XML

Broadway Bullet Interview: Piper Goodeve, Jessica Grove and Nancy Ford from Anne of Green Gables.





BroadwayBullet: Theatreworks specializes in developing original family plays and musicals, and we've got a great new offering at Theatreworks. What could be more appropriate than Anne of Green Gables. We've got the composer Nancy Ford with us as well as Piper Goodeve and Jessica Grove. How are you guys doing?

All: Good how are you?

BB: Now Piper, you are Anne. And Jessica you are…

Jessica Grove: Diana Barry, Anne's bosom friend.

BB: I wanted to talk to Nancy about how she came up writing the show. But maybe the two of you could set up quick what the story of Anne of Green Gables is for those not familiar with their classics.

JG: Well they should definitely read it first of all because it's a wonderful book. We start by seeing Anne who's an orphan. Her name is Anne Shirley. She's lived all over the place in Canada, near Prince Edward island bouncing from family to family. And she ends up by mistake landing at a brother and sister's house. Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert. And they had sent to find a boy at an orphanage and they got a girl by mistake. And she comes to live with them and they decide to keep her and she completely changes their entire world for the better. And it's a completely touching story about finding a home and people who love you.

BB: Alright so Nancy, what drove you to this project as a composer?

Nancy Ford: Well TheatreWorks drew us to it because I think Gretchen Cryer who wrote the book and I may be the only 2 women in the world who never read this book when we were growing up. And we were talking to TheatreWorks about doing a show for then because Gretchen and I had written shows for the American Girls. We wrote the American Girls Review and Cirle of Friends that are playing in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles. And we loved writing for young people so we talked to TheatreWorks and said, "Have you got a project?" and they said, "Well how about Anne of Green Gables?" and we said, "We'd have to read it." And we did. And we just fell in love with the story. I mean, yes it's kind of a children's story but it has so much in it that's for adults too. It's just very heartwarming and a delightful story. Anne is just this girl with this tremendous imagination. And it's her imagination that gives her a life. Otherwise her life would be tragic. But because she can rise above that she just makes up all these fantasies. And she's a totally delightful character. And Piper's totally delightful playing her and it's wonderful to have Jessica in it too. These 2 were good friends in real life, which we did not even know when Jessica came to audition. And then it turned out that they were already bosom buddies. That didn't have to be changed, anyway.

BB: Now I hear they offered to help set up a myspace page for you.

NF: Yeah, In need to get into the 21st century.

JG: Nancy Ford, composer. Myspace.com

BB: Well before we continue, we got a very special thing. You guys are going to be doing a few exclusive live in studio performances here for our audience. So before we continue which one of the 2 songs do you want to do first?

Probably "Stay" right?

NF: Well I think "Stay" comes first in the show.

BB: Do we need any set up for this?

PG: Up until this point in the show they're unsure of weather or not they're going to keep Anne. They may send her back to the asylum. They may send her to live with Mrs. Bluit down the road who has the reputation for being a horrible woman and just very mean to everybody. And this is the scene where Anne overhears Mathew and Merilla talking in the kitchen and the song happens.

BB: You're going to be playing the piano yourself Nancy, correct?

NF: I am.

Listen to "I Can Stay" in Broadway Bullet Vol. 108

BB: What are the elements you feel about the show connect with a modern audience.

JG: It's a young girl's adventure and I feel like anybody can relate to that. As Nancy said earlier, Anne's imagination brings joy into everybody's life. Especially my character, Diana is very prim and proper and wouldn't even think to run through the field. Her mother would hang her. So when Anne comes into my life I'm completely changed and I'm, able to let loose and have fun. I think also I read the books a lot when I was younger and then I went back and read them again doing the show. The thing that I'm always struck by and I try to bring into my life more now that I've been working on this part is that constantly throughout the book she keeps saying, "Oh that's so tragical. You know the leaves fall off the trees but isn't it wonderful to live in a world where the trees have leaves? Constantly every situation she turns into a beautiful story. And she has a way of constantly being positive even though these bad things have happened to her. 

NF: I think everyone no matter what age we are have a certain concept of home. And what they would like home to be. And Anne who's not really had a home until she lives with Matt and Marilla and then she's confronted with these 2 people, one who really understands her, but Mirella who doesn't.  She's afraid to let her emotions show. This older woman, as the say in the show she's 63, and she can't let her emotion show to Anne. It's like she doesn't want to make any promises that she can't keep. And she doesn't know if it's going to work out with Anne. So she holds at bay almost throughout the entire show, and is finally able to let her real feelings, which all along she's loved this child but she couldn't let it show. So at the end Anne has a real home and I think that connects up with anybody at any age.

BB: Piper and Jessica, are either of you from New York?

Both: No.

BB: Yeah, I didn't sense that. How long have the 2 of you been plying your craft here?

JG: I've technically lived here for 6 years but I was kind of a kid in the business. I played Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ when I was 15 at Madison Square Garden, but I only moved here then when I was 19. So I've lived here for 6 years and I love it. I don't want to live anywhere else. I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio.

BB: And Piper:

PG: I'm originally from New Hampshire out in the middle of nowhere, like Anne spent so many days stomping through fields and climbing trees out in the wilderness. New York has been a big change for me. I came to New York to go to NYU and I was here for 4 years then. I've been in and out of the city since then. I lived in London for about 3 years and just moved back to the city from Providence Rhode Island. I was at Trinity Rep There.

BB: The ad campaign pretty much focus' on your face. How does that feel to have your face plastered all over New York?

PG: It's taken some getting used to honestly. It's great. You know any publicity, any press is good. So the more that it can sell tickets and bring people in to see this amazing show I'm all for it. It's still a little weird walking by the marquee at the Lortel my head is the entire size of the door. I kinda have to not look at it. I think it's great. I think the more that people see the ad, if they like it or not. I know there's been some chats online about how terrible some people think it is  but if that makes them interested in the show I'm all for it.

JG: The thing is this girl is beautiful so it's a cute picture of Anne of Green Gables but it's nothing what Piper looks like. And the character constantly says, "No one's going to marry me because I'm so homely." So it's good as an actress to put aside any vanity and play a role like that.

NF: And think everyone's going to be surprised when the go to the theatre and they see you.

BB: Before we continue, let's do the second song you're going to perform. So what's this one about.

JG: This is shortly after Anne comes to Diana's house and they meet for the first time. And Anne grabs her and takes her off to the field. Basically kidnaps her. And they pick flowers and have a lovely time on the hillside. This is where they swear to be best friends forever and ever. 

BF: It's very funny because in about 2 seconds Anne asks Diana, "Do you think that you could like me well enough to be my bosom buddy?" And poor Diana is kind of taken aback and doesn't know what to say. But she says, "I guess I could do that". But it's a very sweet moment in the show. It's my favorite moment in the show.

It's our love duet.

Hear "Making Up For Lost Time" in Broadway Bullet Vol. 108

BB: Nancy, you're a bright eyed newcomer aren't you?


NF: I think they call it, 'veteran' maybe? Well the first show Gretchen Cryer and I had in New York was also at the Lotel theatre. It was known as the Delice (sp?) in those days, it was 1967. And actually my very first job in New York was actually at that same theatre when I was the accompanist for Lotte Lenya in a play called Brecht on Brecht. (http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=6841016)  So it's really fun for me to be back home in that theatre again. I have a lot of memories. Good and bad. It's like walking into Follies or something. And I'm still here. Yes, I've been around awhile in the theatre. In the 60's and 70's, you most of the work Gretchen and I have done were in the 70's. We have "Now Is the Time" was in 1967. Then in 1970 we did a show called "The Last Sweet Days Of Issac". That was at the East Side Playhouse. Then in '72 a Broadway show, "Shelter". Probably the one we're most known for it "I'm Getting our Act Together and Taking It On The Road" Which was in 1978. That ran for 3 years. And that was done in a lot of countries. (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Together-Taking-Original-London/dp/B00000HYAL) So that was pretty well known. So it's been awhile since we've done an off Broadway show.

JG: There's a lot of elements. And the set is gorgeous. And our lighting is amazing. And our costumes are incredible. But part of what takes a lot of time is Piper has so many quick changes as Anne because she ages so rapidly. And this is a 2 and a half hour show that they have cut down to 90 minutes for Theatreworks. So Piper has changes where she runs offstage, changes her wig and her dress in a matter of 10 seconds with one changer.

PG: We'd tape it in rehearsals. And I'd look over at the stage manager and she'd be "7 seconds!". And I'd be like, "Oh no. How is this going to happen?" But the dressers are amazing. And they've rigged all the costumes. So you know.
 NF: I haven't seen, since I haven't been at tech, I haven't seen the wigs. How many wigs do you have in the show?

PG: I have a long red wig. One green wig. A short green wig, a short red wig, and then an older Anne wig that has a bun on it that gets attached. My up do.

NF: Because you age over the show from 12-16.

BB: This is running in New York through May 5th with Theatreworks. And I know that Theatreworks usually tour stuff. Do you think there's a good chance this is going to be touring around?

NF: Oh it definitely is. We go into rehearsal September 22 for the tour.

BB: Oh they have set the tour! Great, because a lot of our listeners are around the country as well.

On the Theatreworks website, which is twusa.org they can click on our production, then also there's a link on our production to the national tour.

BB: Alright I thank you for coming down with such a great performance and interview, especially while you're in the midst of craziness in tech week.

All: Thanks for having us. 


You can listen to this interview and many other great features for free on Broadway Bullet vol. 108. Subscribe for free so you don't miss an episode.

 or MP3 Feed with XML

Next on Stage

Related Articles

From This Author Michael Gilboe