Directed by Gingold founding artistic director David Staller, the production utilizes a new adaption by Staller, which is sourced from Shaw’s nine drafts of the 1905 play, his screenplay for the 1941 film, letters and his notes during the creative process.
“Shaw always admitted that he had never quite ‘cracked the code’ for his Major Barbara,” Staller said in an earlier statement. “He began his first go at the play failing even to include the character of Barbara. Deciding that he needed an ‘everyman’ figure to guide us through his provocative ideas, Shaw being Shaw chose a bright ambitious young woman to lead us. Shaw returned to this comedy decade after decade determined to find solutions by trying new approaches. He ultimately created a story that is about exactly that—defining questions, questing for answers and challenging our existing ideas.”
The cast features Pearl Resident Acting Company members Robin Leslie Brown (Rummy), Bradford Cover (Morrison, Peter Shirley, Biliton) Dan Daily (Andrew Undershaft) and Carol Schultz (Lady Britomart, Mrs. Baines). They are joined by guest artists Becky Baumwoll (Sarah Undershaft, Jenny Hill), Hannah Cabell (Barbara Undershaft), Cary Donaldson (Bill Walker, Charles Lomax), Richard Gallagher (Cusins) and Alec Shaw (Stephen Undershaft, Snobby Price).
In Major Barbara, press notes state, "when the charming weapons-manufacturer Andrew Undershaft goes toe-to-toe with his passionate daughter Barbara, a Major in the Salvation Army, over his 'ill-gotten' fortune, it leads to the wager of the century. She is determined to save his soul—he is determined to open her eyes to a wider world. Their confrontation will knock their entire family’s moral compass up, down, and sideways, never to be the same again."
The creative team includes James Noone (sets), Michael Gottlieb (lighting), Tracy Christensen (costumes), M. Florian Staab (sound), Kate Farrington (dramaturg) and April Ann Kline (production stage manager). Performances continue through Dec. 14.
The Pearl Theatre is located at 555 West 42nd Street in New York City. Tickets are $65 ($39 seniors, $20 student rush, $20 Thursday rush) and can be purchased by visiting pearltheatre.org or calling (212) 563-9261.