Authored by five-time Tony nominee LaChiusa, the musical began previews Oct. 18 and officially opened Nov. 6 at The Gym at Judson Memorial Church.
Transport Group artistic director Jack Cummings III (See Rock City, The Boys in the Band) directs the work, which is the inaugural production of Transport Group's 20th Century Project, "a ten-year initiative spanning ten productions, each production focusing on a different decade of the 20th century." Queen of the Mist focuses on the decade 1900-1910.
Leading the cast as female daredevil Anna Edson Taylor is Tony Award nominee Mary Testa (On the Town, 42nd Street, First Lady Suite, See What I Wanna See), who is joined by Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific, Tales of the City); D.C. Anderson (The Phantom of the Opera, The Life Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby); Stanley Bahorek (See Rock City & Other Destinations, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee); Theresa McCarthy (Titanic, Floyd Collins); Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party, First Lady Suite); and Tally Sessions (The House of Blue Leaves, Yank!).
Here's how the show is billed: "Based on an astounding, outrageous, and haunting true story, Queen of the Mist stars two-time Tony nominee Mary Testa as Anna Edson Taylor, who, in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls — in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists, and activists. Convinced that there is greatness in her and determined not to live as ordinary, she sets out to battle her fear and tempt her fate. With a score that incorporates turn-of-the-century themes with signature LaChiusa elements, Queen of the Mist is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live."
LaChiusa's most recent work includes the music and lyrics to Giant (book by Sybille Pearson); Los Otros (book by Ellen Fitzhugh); and the score for Maria Aitken's production of As You Like It at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. As a composer, lyricist and librettist, his other works include Bernarda Alba, See What I Wanna See, The Highest Yellow, Little Fish, Hello Again, First Lady Suite and Break/Agnes/Eulogy for Mister Hamm. In the 1999-2000 Broadway season, his The Wild Party and Marie Christine received Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Book (with George C. Wolfe on The Wild Party) for each show and he received a Tony nomination for Best Book (Graciela Daniele and Jim Lewis) for Chronicle of a Death Foretold. His operas include Send (who are you? I love you) which premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, and Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations) which premiered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago where he was the Brena and Lee Freeman Composer-in-Residence. LaChiusa is an Obie Award winner for Hello Again and First Lady Suite. Queen of the Mist's creative team includes choreographer Scott Rink (Hello Again, Crossing Brooklyn); musical director Chris Fenwick (See What I Wanna See); orchestrator Michael Starobin (Hello Again, Falsettos, Sunday in the Park With George, two-time Tony winner for Next To Normal and Assassins); scenic designer Sandra Goldmark (Hello Again, The Boys in the Band); costume designer Kathryn Rohe (The Boys in the Band, Hello Again); lighting designer R. Lee Kennedy (The Audience, Bury The Dead and See Rock City & Other Destinations); and sound designer Walter Trarbach (The Farnsworth Invention, Cymbeline).
The production manager is Charles Hubbard; production stage manager is Wendy Patten; casting is by Nora Brennan Casting; dramaturg is Kristina Corcoran Williams; associate director is Gregg Wiggans.
Queen of the Mist was commissioned by Transport Group Theatre Company and is made possible through major support from The Shen Family Foundation, which is committed to new musical theatre writers who take risks beyond commercial boundaries.
General admission tickets start at $58; premium reserved seating tickets start at $65; opening night tickets are $65; gala fundraiser tickets are $95. For tickets and information, visit www.transportgroup.org or phone (866) 811-4111.
The Gym at Judson Memorial Church is located at 243 Thompson Street at Washington Square South in Greenwich Village.
Here's a preview of Queen of the Mist: