February House Cast, With Julian Fleisher, Kacie Sheik and Stanley Bahorek, Reunites for CD Release Concert
The recording is produced by Ted Sperling and composer Kahane.
Davis McCallum (Water By the Spoonful, Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue, Sex Lives of Our Parents) directed February House, which opened May 22 at the Public. Andy Boroson was musical director. Julian Fleisher portrayed George Davis, who helped found the commune known as February House, at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights. Also featured were Stanley Bahorek (Spelling Bee, See Rock City) as Benjamin Britten with Kacie Sheik (Hair) as Gypsy Rose Lee, Erik Lochtefeld (Metamorphoses, Candide) as W.H. Auden and Kristen Sieh (Gatz, "Boardwalk Empire") as Carson McCullers.
Completing the cast were Ken Barnett (Wonderful Town, The Green Bird) as Peter Pears, Ken Clark (La Cage aux Folles) as Reeves McCullers, Stephanie Hayes (Eurydice) as Erika Mann and A.J. Shively (La Cage aux Folles) as Chester Kallman.
Based on the Sherill Tippins biography "February House: The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Wartime America," the musical incorporates elements of classical operetta, jazz, musical comedy and modern folk-pop.
Here's how the creators bill February House: "Bringing together some of the greatest and most colorful minds of a generation, including W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, George Davis tries to create his own utopia in a small house in Brooklyn Heights in the 1940s. The artists discover new ideas exploding at every turn as they find love, friendship and their own artistic voices in a time of war."
The complete track listing for the recording follows:
1. Light Upon the Hill
2. George Comes Through
3. A Room Comes Together
4. Refugee Blues
5. Coney Island
6. Shall We Live Here
8. Discontent / Talk of the Town
9. Refugee Blues II
10. A Little Brain
11. Goodnight to the Boardinghouse
13. Awkward Angel
14. It Is Time for the Destruction of Error
15. You Sit In Your Chair
16. Ride Out the Light
18. Funeral Blues
20. Light Upon the Hill (reprise)
21. Goodnight to the Boardinghouse (reprise)
Musicians on the recording include conductor Andy Boroson on piano, glockenspiel; Andy Stack on guitars, banjo; Aaron Irwin on flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Jay Hassler on flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Tema Watstein on violin; and Jane Cords O'Hara on violoncello.
* The entire original cast was on hand for the Tuesday night concert, with the exception of Ken Barnett. Composer Kahane stepped in to sing the role of Peter Pears.