Vincent van Gogh's painting "L'Arlesienne" shows a black-haired middle aged woman with her head resting on her fist and a preoccupied look in her dark eyes. Madame Ginoux, as she is known, is the central character of Poet's Garden, a three-person world-premiere musical opening its debut April 19 at Los Angeles' Matrix Theatre. Performances began April 17 for a run through June 3. Michael Michetti (Sweeny Todd with Amanda McBroom) directs.
Composer-lyricist John Allee and lyricist-librettist Gary Matanky, Richard Rodgers nominees for The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear in 1994, crafted their musical around the life of the cafe proprietress Marie Ginoux, who inspired van Gogh's painting. Her routine life is disrupted by the arrival of the brilliant and sometimes insane artist who will paint her portrait. Their burgeoning friendship is altered, however, by the arrival of another artist, Paul Gauguin, who arrives to paint and live with van Gogh.
Fiama Fricano, who has appeared on Broadway and on tour in Sunset Boulevard, Ragtime and Beauty and the Beast, stars as Ginoux with Bjorn Johnson (Cyrano) as van Gogh and Steven Memel as Gauguin. Also in the cast are Michael DeVries (Grand Hotel, Secret Garden and King David) as Joseph-Michel Ginoux, Brad Blaisdell as Joseph Roulin and Dina Bennett as Augustine Roulin.
Designing Poet's Garden are Katherine Ferwerda (sets), Steven Young (lighting) and Doug Spesert (costumes). David Hollady is the musical director.