The latest cycle in the development of The Mistress Cycle, the musical by Beth Blatt (book and lyrics) and Jenny Giering (music), will take place at the Williamstown Theatre Festival Aug. 3-4. A workshop will be presented Friday as part of WTF's "Fridays @ 3" series. An additional performance will occur Saturday at noon.
The work is long aborning. Four songs from the show won a 1996 NATS Art Song competition. Then, in 2000, the composing duo netted a Jonathan Larson Foundation grant. This year, Blatt and Giering received the 2econd [sic] Stage Theatre/Constance Klinsky Prize for Excellence in Composition of Musical Theatre. Additionally, The Mistress Cycle has been a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award, the Jerry Bock Award and the BMI/Goodspeed New Musical Development Program.
All those laurels were enough to attract the attention of producer Randall Wreghitt, who has the musical under option for a commercial mounting. At one point, Audra McDonald was expected to take part in the workshop, but McDonald, who recently gave birth to a child, expressed a desire to take some time off at the recent Tony Award ceremony. McDonald recorded Giering's music on her debut solo album.
The cast of the WTF workshop includes Tara Ramirez, who starred in A Class Act on Broadway, Julia Murney, most recently in Crimes of the Heart at Second Stage, and Liz Paw, Adriane Lenox, Robin Skye, Dylan Chalfy and Martin Raynor. Jonathan Bernstein directs.
The Mistress Cycle examines the lot of mistresses over the world and across the years. Blatt and Giering's musical adaptation of the children's book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, is set to begin a national tour this fall.
—By Robert Simonson