GREY GARDENS to Play Custom Made Theatre, 5/22-6/21

GREY GARDENS to Play Custom Made Theatre, 5/22-6/21

In 1975, filmmakers Albert and David Maysles brought their cameras into the crumbling, palatial estate of Edith Bouvier Beale (the aunt of Jackie Kennedy) and her daughter, Little Edie. There they found two women ostracized from their community, hanging on to reality by a thread, and surrounded by dozens of cats and raccoons. Grey Gardens, the Musical examines both the back-story of this fascinating family and the fate they couldn't possibly have imagined. It was the first musical on Broadway ever to be adapted from a documentary.

Named one of Broadway's "Best of 2006," Grey Gardens, the Musical boasts a book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie. The Custom Made production is directed by Stuart Bousel, with musical direction by David Brown.

Grey Gardens, the Musical previews May 22-24, opens May 26, and runs through June 21, 2015 at Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough Street, San Francisco. (415) 798-CMTC (2682)

The Cast features David Brown, Nathan Brown, Nandi Drayton Mary Gibboney, Gabrielle Jarvie, Juliana Lustenader, AeJay Mitchell, Heather Orth, CC Sheldon, and Dave Sikula*

Creative Staff includes William Campbell - lights, Cat Howser - stage manager, Brooke Jennings* - costumes , Stewart Lyle* - scenic design, Kim Saunders* - choreography

*member, Custom Made Theatre Co.

"With an intimate, musical score that borrows as much from Stephen Sondheim as the eras in which it is set, Grey Gardens is the perfect chamber musical. Since the show presents such a unique and intimate look into the lives of its two main characters, re-envisioning it as a chamber musical provides an opportunity to heighten those aspects of the score and story that plumb the depths of the Beales. Adding to the intimacy of the Custom Made production, musical director David Brown provides the accompanying piano music and also plays the role of Gould, the Beale's pianist.

"We know that the Beales were a musical family. It was important to both Edith and Edie to have music in their lives, so the material lends itself well to musical interpretation. By having the entire accompaniment provided by the Beales' real-life pianist (George Gould Strong) - as a historic figure in act one, and as a ghost in act two - we're threading the music deeper into the text." - Director Stuart Bousel

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895-1977), often known as "Big Edie", and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917-2002), known as "Little Edie", were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at the Grey Gardens estate, for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation. The house, located on Long Island, NY in the East Hamptons, was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist

Throughout the fall of 1971 and into 1972, their living conditions-their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay-were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine] after a series of inspections (which the Beales called "raids") by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their house in the summer of 1972, Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.

Albert and David Maysles became interested in their story and received permission to film a documentary about the women, which was released in 1976 to wide critical acclaim. Their direct cinema technique left the women to tell their own stories. In a 2014 Sight and Sound poll, film critics voted Grey Gardens one of the best documentaries of all time.

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