By Kenneth Jones
07 Sep 2011
The San Marcos, TX, staging reflects changes made to the property — which has music by Tony Award nominee Lippa, and book and lyrics by Crawley — since its world premiere by TheatreWorks in California in 2004.
Thus four-night concert version of the show "will provide the authors the opportunity to finalize the script, score and orchestrations," according to director Kaitlin Hopkins, who heads the musical theatre program at Texas State.
The TSU musical theatre program is producing the concert. A 20-piece orchestra will be conducted by Lippa, whose scores include The Addams Family, The Wild Party and jon and jen. Crawley wrote the book and lyrics for Violet (with composer Jeanine Tesori), which won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. For the libretto of Violet, Crawley won the Kleban Award.
Music Theatre International (MTI) will exclusively represent the performance rights for the show around the world.
Ghostlight Records is releasing the world-premiere studio recording of A Little Princess on Sept. 13 to coincide with publisher Hal Leonard's release of the vocal selections. In addition to directing the concert, New York City theatre veteran Hopkins (Noises Off, Bat Boy, Anything Goes) will also be performing the role of Miss Minchin. Her husband, faculty member and Broadway actor Jim Price (Civil War, Bat Boy), will perform the role of Captain Crewe. The rest of the roles will be played by students in the musical theatre program.
Lippa is currently composer in residence for the musical theatre program at Texas State and has been commissioned with funds from the university's Harrison New Musical Commission to create a new work to be developed and premiered at the school.
Hopkins said in a statement, "I think one of the most exciting things for the students, other than the time they get to spend with Andrew and Brian in the rehearsal room, is that Andrew is also conducting the performances. It's a wonderful professional credit and rare educational experience for the students — and to be conducted by the composer and be part of the development of this show, well, that's the icing on the cake."
The student cast includes Jess DeJong as Sara Crewe, Jennifer Foster as Becky, Jackson Perrin as Pasko, Alex Zeto as Miss Amelia, Lakeisha Houston as Aljana, Matilde Bernabei as Lavinia, Taylor Edwards as Ermengarde, Ragan Rhodes as Lottie, Gianna Yanelli as Nora, Rachel Hull-Ryde as Jessie, Olivia Corbello as Queen Victoria, Trevor McGinnis as James, Dakota Smith as Mr. Skipwith, Sean McGibbon and Phillip Cole White as Cockney Men, Gabriel Bernal and Gino Chaviano as Merchants, with Shelby Acosta, Jahmal Bland, Julianna Dickey, Irving Dyson Jr., Chris Fordinal, Brandon Maybry, Trevor McGinnis, Johnique Mitchell, Madison Nye, Tommy Joe Perry, Sydney Roberts, Joey Saffren, Quinton Sanders, Annie Wallace and Kelsie Wilson.
"A Little Princess" is the 1905 children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. There have been several film and stage versions over the years, including a 1917 film starring Mary Pickford as Sara, a 1939 version with Shirley Temple, and a 1995 version directed by Alfonso Cuaron.
A Little Princess will be presented Oct. 16-19 at the Texas Music Theater in San Marcos, TX. Find ticket information here. The live stream broadcast is sponsored by Michael and Diane Bowman from Hunt and Hunt Ltd in Houston, TX. Proceeds from the concert will benefit future Harrison New Musical commissions.
For more information on the musical theatre program at Texas State University, visit www.theatreanddance.txstate.edu.