Life and Times of George Sand: Musical Becoming George Premieres April 19 in VA

News   Life and Times of George Sand: Musical Becoming George Premieres April 19 in VA
 
MetroStage, the Virginia company that gives voice to contemporary plays and musicals, launches the world premiere of Becoming George, a musical about French writer George Sand, April 19.

The work has book and lyrics by Patti McKenny and Doug Frew and music by Linda Eisenstein. Brett Smock directs, and Michael Flohr is musical director and piano conductor of the five-piece orchestra.

According to MetroStage, "Becoming George is about radical feminist and world-famous author George Sand, called 'the first modern woman,' and her new protégé, Sarah Bernhardt, who's rehearsing a Sand play in Paris in 1870. Sand decides against retirement and fights one last battle as a champion for progressive social causes, confronting a repressive French government and the threat of the unpopular Franco-Prussian War. Choosing sides in Sand's fight are her friend and script doctor Alexandre Dumas the Younger; Marthe, her housekeeper and confidante; Gérard, poet, revolutionary and Sand's lover; and Prince Paul, the Minister of Culture."

MetroStage producing artistic director Carolyn Griffin stated, "Becoming George is historic, political, literary, theatrical and social. It is a remarkable new musical with beautiful, sophisticated, and smart lyrics and music, poignant social commentary and yet so much fun."

It's billed as "a new look at George Sand's life as a model of humor, hope, and healing during days of terror, war, and world change."

The unconventional George Sand, known for wearing men's clothes, will be played by Chicagoan Kat Taylor, who has been with the project from the beginning. She has appeared in the national tours of Les Misérables (Fantine) and The Phantom of the Opera (Madame Giry). Meegan Midkiff (Sarah Bernhardt) was most recently seen in The Last Five Years in Florida. Greg Violand (Alexandre Dumas the Younger) last did Urinetown in Cleveland. Brian Childers (The Prince) just completed Lucky Stiff in New Jersey and won the Helen Hayes Award for his portrayal of Danny Kaye in Danny and Sylvia (seen at MetroStage and originated at American Century Theatre). Mary Jayne Raleigh (Marthe) has toured in Les Miserables and appeared in Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along in the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center. Jason Hentrich (Gérard) was seen in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Everyman Theatre) and has performed with the Washington National Opera and Baltimore Opera companies. Book and lyrics writers Patti McKenny and Doug Frew live in Chicago and have been writing together for 30 years. Their musical 90 North (with composer Daniel Sticco) won ASCAP's 1997 Outstanding New Musical Award, was nominated for the Sammy Cahn Lyricist Award, and helped launch ASCAP's "In the Works" new musicals program at the Kennedy Center in 2000 with artistic director Stephen Schwartz.

Cleveland composer Linda Eisenstein's plays and musicals have been produced worldwide. Her musicals include Discordia, Street Sense and Star Wars: The Next Generation (Cleveland Public Theatre), The Last Red Wagon Tent Show in the Land (Actors' & Playwrights' Theatre), and, most recently, Holiday Hotline (Detroit Avenue Arts). She has participated in New Dramatists' Composer/Librettist Studio and composed theatre scores for dozens of plays.

Director Brett Smock was at MetroStage last summer directing and developing The Sand Storm: Stories from the Front.

The creative team includes Jen Price (set designer), Matthew Fick (lighting designer), Steve Beano (sound designer) and Howard Kurtz (costumes).

Becoming George was chosen by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers) in 2004 to be performed and critiqued at ASCAP's first-ever Chicago Musical Theatre Workshop, sponsored by the ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop with artistic director Stephen Schwartz and Chicago Workshop program director Craig Carnelia. It was seen in the 2003 Next Stage Festival of New Plays at the Cleveland Play House. MetroStage produced a staged reading as part of the Page to Stage New Play Festival at the Kennedy Center in 2004.

Becoming George will open April 29 and continue to May 28. MetroStage is at 1201 N. Royal Street in Alexandria, VA. For more information, call (703) 548-9044 or visit www.metrostage.org.

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George Sand is the pseudonym of Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin, baronne Dudevant (1804–76). The French novelist's father was an aristocrat and her mother was lower-class. She was raised by a stern grandmother, and convent-educated in Paris. She married, had two children, divorced, had liaisons with famous men and wrote many popular novels.

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