Julie Taymor's The Green Bird opens April 18 at the Cort Theatre. Taymor's first Broadway show since her acclaimed Disney production of Lion King, Green Bird has already generated award interest in previews, including three Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding Broadway Play, Costume Design (Constance Hoffman) and Lighting Design (Donald Holder).
The Outer Critics Circle nod for Taymor's colleagues, Hoffman and Holder, follows a pattern started with the flurry of design and production awards that followed the success of Lion King. For Lion King, Holder won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. Other winners from Lion King include Michael Curry (Drama Desk award for puppet design), Tony Meola (Drama Desk award for sound design), Garth Fagan (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards for choreography) and Richard Hudson (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for scenic design).
A double Tony Award-winner herself for Lion King, director Taymor’s credits also include the Off-Broadway show, Juan Darien. Taymor has generated tremendous excitement over the years with her mask and puppet work; Taymor not only directs Green Bird, but has created the show's masks and puppets.
This is Taymor's second New York production of The Green Bird. Her first production of the show debuted to critical acclaim at Off Broadway's New Victory Theatre in spring 1996. That Theatre for a New Audience production played just 15 performances and garnered Derek Smith an Obie award for acting. Following the New Victory Theatre's limited engagement, Green Bird ran successfully at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Included in the current cast are Didi Conn, Ned Eisenberg, Sebastian Roché, Reg E. Cathy, Edward Hibbert, Katie MacNichol, Kristine Nielsen, Sophia Salguero, Derek Smith, Bruce Turk, Erico Villanueva and Andrew Weems. (Featured in the 1996 production of Green Bird were Trellis Stepter, Priscilla Shanks, Lee Lewis, Weems, Conn, Eisenberg, Myriam Cyr, Roche, Turk, Nielsen, and Villanueva.) The Green Bird features original music by Taymor's long time partner and collaborator, composer Elliot Goldenthal.
Production sources describe the story -- about a king who longs for his lost wife, and brother-and-sister twins searching for their true identities -- as a "wicked comedy of outrageous characters in which fantasy and the truest love meet in a place unlike any ever seen." Taymor has said The Green Bird has a "wonderful grotesquery and poetry to it -- an edgy bawdiness." Green Bird was written by Italian playwright Gozzi in the 18th century.
Translated by Albert Bermel and Ted Emery, The Green Bird is produced by Ostar Enterprises and Theatre for a New Audience (where Jeffrey Horowitz is the artistic director) as well as Nina Lannan.
The production team for Green Bird comprises scenic designer Christine Jones, costume designer Hoffman and lighting designer Holder.
Taymor's breakthrough collaboration with Elliot Goldenthal,Juan Darien, was produced Off-Broadway in 1988. That production won both Taymor and Goldenthal Obie Awards. The show also ran at Lincoln Center Theater in 1996 and was nominated for five Tony Awards.
Tickets run $45 - $75. Green Bird will run at Broadway's Cort Theatre, located at 138 West 48th Street. Call Telecharge at (212) 239 6200 or visit www.telecharge.com or the Cort Theatre box office.