Marie Christine, the Medea-inspired musical by composer lyricist Michael John LaChiusa, starring Audra McDonald, will ends its limited run Jan. 9. The show opened Dec. 2 at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theatre, after previews from Oct. 28.
Also in the cast of 31 are Mary Testa (Tartuffe, On the Town), Darius de Haas (The Running Man), Kim Huber and Michael McCormick. Sherry Boone plays McDonald's role at Wednesday and Saturday matinees.
Because McDonald has become such a draw, Marie Christine turned into one of the season's hot tickets early on. The show's opening was preceded by a slew of articles in the New York Times and New York Times Magazine, profiling LaChiusa and McDonald as two of the musical theatre's most promising artists.
Marie Christine is set in New Orleans a century ago. McDonald plays a passionate young woman willing to do anything to preserve her love for an ambitious sea captain, the Jason figure, played by Crivello. Act One is set in the South, Act Two is in Chicago. LaChiusa wrote the lead role with McDonald in mind. LaChiusa has earned a cult following with such musicals as Hello Again (at LCT), The Petrified Prince (at The Public Theater) and Chronicle of a Death Foretold on Broadway. Though each show has had its supporters and has nurtured interest in LaChiusa's future, none have proven a breakout critical or commercial hit. Marie Christine marks his most high-profile project to date. His next work, The Wild Party, is due on Broadway this spring, boasting a cast including Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt.
The omnipresent McDonald most recently starred as Sarah in Ragtime, for which she won her third Tony (the previous two were for Master Class and Carousel ). But, though McDonald has been a star in the New York theatre world for some time now -- and has recently made inroads in recordings ("Way Back to Paradise"), cabaret (Joe's Pub) and television (TV's "Annie") -- this was the first time she's been asked to carry a Broadway musical on her own. McDonald's second solo album is due out on Nonesuch next month.
Crivello starred in the Kander and Ebb musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. He won a Tony for that role, but has been largely absent from the New York theatre scene since.
The musical's design is by Christopher Barreca (sets), Toni-Leslie James (costumes), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lights) and Scott Stauffer (sound). Musical direction is by David Evans; Jonathan Tunick did the orchestrations.
Contact, the hit "dance-play" currently at the Mitzi E. Newhouse, will reopen in the Beaumont in early March 2000. For information, call (212) 239-6200.