Violet, which features music by Tesori and book and lyrics by Crawley, is based on Doris Betts' story about a disfigured woman's journey to visit a faith healer she hopes will make her beautiful. The musical was first produced at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in 1997 and received a one-night concert presentation this past summer in the inaugural season of Encores! Off-Center, which is dedicated to revisiting Off-Broadway productions. Tesori serves as the artistic director for the City Center series.
The concert starred two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, who received her first Tony Award for her performance in Tesori's musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. Foster, who has starred in Anything Goes, Shrek the Musical, Young Frankenstein, Little Women and The Drowsy Chaperone, will also star in the Broadway production of Violet, which will begin performances March 28, 2014, at the American Airlines Theatre. The production will officially open April 20.
In an interview with Variety, Tesori spoke of the show's resonance to present-day audiences, saying, "Back in the '90s, there weren't things like Botox, not in the way there is today. Now there's this concept that you can 'fix' beauty, and it really resonates with the piece."
Violet is just one of Tesori's current works in progress; the musical Fun Home, co-written by book writer-lyricist Lisa Kron and based on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir about a lesbian cartoonist re-examining her life, is currently playing a much-extended run at the Public Theater. Additionally, her new all-ages opera, The Lion, the Unicorn and Me, began its world-premiere run at D.C.'s Washington National Opera Dec. 14 and continues through Dec. 22.