Kelli O'Hara, Will Chase and Quentin Earl Darrington Sing Far From Heaven in NYC Reading

News   Kelli O'Hara, Will Chase and Quentin Earl Darrington Sing Far From Heaven in NYC Reading
Playwrights Horizons is presenting an invitation-only reading of its newly commissioned musical Far From Heaven on April 29. Playing the love triangle of the musical drama of forbidden love are South Pacific's Kelli O'Hara, Billy Elliot's Will Chase and Ragtime's Quentin Earl Darrington.

Michael Korie and Scott Frankel
Michael Korie and Scott Frankel Photo by Aubrey Reuben

As previously reported, the musical based on Todd Haynes' 1950s-set 2002 film has libretto by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out), with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie, who were Tony-nominated for their score for Grey Gardens.

The tale, inspired by the tone of "weepie" Hollywood melodramas of the Eisenhower era, concerns a wife, Cathy Whitaker, who discovers that her husband Frank is gay, helping to push her into the arms of a black man, Raymond.

The reading cast, according to sources in the community, also includes Jessica Molaskey, Kenita Miller, Mary Beth Peil, Julie Halston, Brynn O'Malley, Mary Faber, Clarke Thorell, James Moye, J.B. Adams, Sarah Jane Everyman, Kevyn Morrow, Karla Mosley, Christian White, Blake Daniel, Alexa Niziak, Charlie Plummer and Takyrah Jones.

Haynes wrote and directed the picture, which is full of moody and stylized cinematography. He borrowed from a tradition of 1950s sentimental tear-jerkers like the kind made by filmmaker Douglas Sirk.

A director of the project has not been named. The musical is being commissioned by Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons under the auspices of the Playwrights Horizons Musicals in Partnership Initiative, with funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Under the rules of the funding, PH will partner with a regional theatre for a co-production. The partner has not been named. A production timeline has not been revealed. According to Playwrights Horizons' late 2010 statement about the project, Far From Heaven "tells the story of Cathy Whitaker, a 1950s housewife living in suburban Hartford who watches as her seemingly perfect life begin to fall apart. The film echoes 'women's films' of the 1950s (especially those of Douglas Sirk, director of 'All That Heaven Allows" and "Imitation of Life') to tell a story that deals with complex contemporary issues including sexual and racial prejudice."

The original 2002 film starred Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert and Patricia Clarkson. It was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Actress (Julianne Moore), Best Original Screenplay (Todd Haynes), Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman) and Best Original Score (Elmer Bernstein). It was also named Best Film of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Village Voice.

Playwrights Horizons' rich history with musicals includes Grey Gardens, James Joyce's The Dead, Floyd Collins, Assassins, Once on This Island and Sunday in the Park with George, among many others.

Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert in promo artwork for the 2002 film.
Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert in promo artwork for the 2002 film.
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