DESSA ROSE By Ahrens And Flaherty Will Have a Concert Performance At Olney Theatre
Dessa Rose, the second installment of Olney Theatre Center's Applause Concert series bows for its single performance on Friday, March 6 at 8:00pm on the Mainstage. The musical, presented in a concert recital directed by Monique Midgette is a 2005 work by the famed duo Lynne Ahrens (Book and Lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (Music) based on the 1986 novel by Sherley Ann Williams. Christopher Youstra, Olney Theatre's Associate Artistic Director/Director of Music Theatre and the series curator serves as music director and conductor. Awa Sal Secka plays the title role, Gracie Jones co-stars as Ruth. Members of the cast of Miss You Like Hell fill-in the supporting roles. Limited tickets remain. ($60/$50 Olney Theatre Center Members) Purchased online at olneytheatre.org/dessa or call the Box Office (301-924-3400).
"Flaherty and Aherns are two of my favorite composer/lyricists, having written the masterpiece Ragtime and the jewel Once on This Island," says Christopher Youstra, who selected the work for performance. "They do not shun from difficult and challenging material, and Dessa Rose is certainly that. But it is a rewarding journey and a harrowing but heartfelt story told with gorgeous music."
Since the musical's premiere in 2005 at Lincoln Center, there have been very few productions, so this concert version is a rare opportunity for Washington audiences to appreciate this lesser-known work from an acclaimed musical theatre duo. Set in the ante-Bellum South, Dessa Rose is a young enslaved woman bent on achieving freedom for herself and her child. Ruth is a disaffected Southern belle, abandoned by her husband and trapped by convention. Together they plot an unlikely escape.
The final installment in 2019-2020 Season Applause Series is a sold-out concert of Brigadoon on Friday, July 24 at 8:00pm.