With music, books and lyrics by New York City-based composer Jonathan Brielle and direction by Geffen producing director Gilbert Cates, Nightmare Alley is billed as "a dark musical set against the shadowy world of the traveling carnivals and tented churches that dominated the Dust Bowl era."
Previews will begin April 13. Performances will play to May 23 at Geffen in Los Angeles.
Based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham (which was later turned into a film with Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell), Nightmare Alley "plays upon fate, free-will and the consequences that await when you make the wrong choice," according to Geffen notes. "James Barbour stars as Stan, the con turned carnie and back again, who falls in love with Molly, the dark darling of the traveling carnival."
The role of Molly is yet to be cast and will be announced shortly.
Zeena and Pete, "the vaudeville stars now relegated to side show cons," will be played by Mary Gordon Murray (Broadway's Footloose, Into the Woods, Coastal Disturbances) and L.A. actor Larry Cedar (Reprise's She Loves Me), respectively. The "gruffly compassionate carnival boss Clem" will be played by Michael McCarty (Broadway's To Be or Not to Be, Mary Poppins, Oklahoma!). The tarot ladies will be played by Melody Butiu, Leslie Stevens, Anise E. Ritchie and Alet Taylor, who serve as the musical's chorus.
Writer Brielle said in a statement, "When I first read the novel, I was so struck by the question of how someone sinks so low as to become part of a carnival freak show that I felt the need to put this story to music. After working closely with the Gresham estate and in recent years collaborating with Gil, I feel like we are truly ready to raise the big top and watch these fantastic characters come to life in all their revelry and tragedy on the Geffen stage."
Composer-lyricist-librettist Brielle's credits include Himself & Nora (book, music, lyrics) at The Old Globe; composer in residence at Circle Rep in New York City; and words and music for Broadway's Foxfire. Visit www.jonathanbrielle.com.
The Nightmare Alley creative team includes set designer John Arnone, costume designer Christina Haatainen Jones, lighting designer Daniel Ionazzi, sound designer Brian Hsieh and production stage manager Mary Michele Miner.
For tickets and information, call (310) 208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.