Bloom of Grey Gardens Ends July 29 on Broadway

News   Bloom of Grey Gardens Ends July 29 on Broadway
 
Grey Gardens, the unique musical inspired by the film documentary about two eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, will end its Broadway run July 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Tony winner Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens
Tony winner Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens Photo by Joan Marcus

Following the matinee, it will have played 307 performances and 33 previews.

The producers have expressed hope for a national tour and London production of the Doug Wright-Michael Korie-Scott Frankel musical, but no details about these productions have been announced.

Michael Greif (Rent) directed the three-time Tony Award-winning musical about real-life mother and daughter society women Edith and Edie Beale, Jackie O's aunt and cousin. The musical was a highly fictionalized account of their experience.

Raves and awards were showered on Christine Ebersole for playing 50ish Edith Bouvier Beale in Act One, and her middle-aged daughter, Edie, in Act Two. She took home the 2007 Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical. Mary Louise Wilson was named Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her Act Two turn as the haggard, witchy but lovable Edith.

It's expected that Ebersole's work in the musical will be talked about for years to come — partly because she mimics so brilliantly what was captured in the 1975 film documentary that inspired the show. "Eccentric" doesn't begin to describe broken, nonconformist Little Edie in Act Two. (For costuming her, and others, designer William Ivey Long won the show's other 2007 Tony Award). Act One is set in 1941 in the Beales' beautifully appointed Long Island mansion, and by Act Two the women are living in its 1973 ruins, surrounded by cats, raccoons and peeling paint — plus their bruised memories.

Ebersole was recently announced to star in the Encores! concert revival of Applause in 2007-08. She'll play Margo Channing. Ebersole was among the producers of Grey Gardens.

A documentary about the musical Grey Gardens is expected for future release. It was directed by Albert Maysles, who captured "Grey Gardens" so indelibly on film more than 30 years ago.

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In an earlier statement Kelly Gonda, president of East of Doheny, the lead producer of the musical, said, "Grey Gardens is a great work of art that will have a long life beyond this Broadway run. Everyone in the Grey Gardens family is proud that we were able to bring this unique show to Broadway — the first-ever musical to be made from a documentary. We are honored and thrilled to have received rapturous reviews, ecstatic audiences and award recognition. We're happy the show was preserved with a new cast album and filmed as the subject of a soon-to-be released documentary by the legendary original filmmaker, Albert Maysles himself.

"We always knew that Grey Gardens faced an uphill challenge during the summer months. And so we made the difficult decision to end our run on July 29 with our incomparable original cast. Still basking from the glow of our Tony Award wins and the recent surge in attendance, the show is able to go out on top.

"This production of Grey Gardens is a tribute to the Beales themselves, and we're especially proud of having helped make their dream come true. At long last these two incredible, indomitable women have been celebrated as the performers they always wanted to be. And while we're all sad to see this beautiful production close, we'll look forward to keeping their dream alive with future productions and the new documentary. Finally, I must say that it was a real pleasure, both personally and professionally, to work with everyone involved with the Broadway production of Grey Gardens, including the creative team, the cast, the crew and everyone else responsible for the welcome we enjoyed at The Walter Kerr."

Following a sold-out world premiere in spring 2006 at Playwrights Horizons, Grey Gardens — by librettist Doug Wright, lyricist Michael Korie and composer Scott Frankel — opened on Broadway Nov. 2, 2006, at the Walter Kerr.

Based on the 1975 documentary "Grey Gardens" (by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer & Susan Froemke – a Maysles Brothers Films Inc. Production), the show explores the broken dreams of socialite mother and daughter Edith and daughter Edie Beale, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier. Michael Greif directs a cast that includes Ebersole in the dual role of Edith (circa 1940 in Act One) and daughter Edie (1973 in Act Two), Tony nominee Mary Louise Wilson (as aging Edith in Act Two), plus John McMartin as both "Major" Bouvier and Norman Vincent Peale; Matt Cavenaugh as both Joe Kennedy, Jr. and Jerry; Erin Davie as Young "Little" Edie Beale; Kelsey Fowler as Lee Bouvier; Sarah Hyland as Jacqueline Bouvier; Michael Potts as Brooks Sr. and Brooks Jr.; and Bob Stillman as Gould.

Here's how the producers tout Grey Gardens: "Not since Mama Rose and Gypsy has there been a mother/daughter act as hilarious, as heartbreaking and as utterly unforgettable as Edith and Edie Beale — Jackie Kennedy's most outrageous relatives — in Broadway's acclaimed musical smash Grey Gardens. From the grandeur of an East Hampton high society party in 1941 to the sensational tabloid headlines that rocked the Kennedy clan in 1973, Grey Gardens is scandalously entertaining. This witty and passionate ride features Christine Ebersole's already-legendary performance and breaks new ground as the first musical ever based on a documentary. Step into the world of Grey Gardens and see the other side of Camelot."

In addition to the awards bestowed on Christine Ebersole last season, the musical's many honors over the past year include: the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical; both a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance and the Actors Equity Foundation's Richard Seff Award to Mary Louise Wilson for her performance; a 2006 Richard Rodgers Production Award, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters; being named one of ten best in "Best Plays" for the 2005-2006 season (the only musical cited); the ASCAP Foundation's Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award for composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie; The Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition for Frankel; an Obie Award for set designer Allen Moyer; and three 2007 Tony Awards (for Ebersole, Wilson and costume designer William Ivey Long).

The Broadway cast recording, produced by multiple Grammy Award winner Steven Epstein (The Light in the Piazza), was recently released on PS Classics.

Producers previously announced that Ebersole will re-create her Tony-winning performance for the musical's London debut during the 2007-08 season. The musical's producers are also in discussions about the possibility of presenting the show in U.S. engagements across the country. No details, however, have been announced for either a London production or U.S. tour.

Tickets for the remaining Broadway performance are available by going online to www.telecharge.com, calling (212) 239-6200 or visiting The Walter Kerr Theatre box office (219 West 48th Street). Balcony seats are only available in person at the box office.

Visit www.greygardensthemusical.com.

Tony winner Mary Louise Wilson in <i>Grey Gardings</i>, closing July 29.
Tony winner Mary Louise Wilson in Grey Gardings, closing July 29. Photo by Joan Marcus
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