By Adam Hetrick
03 May 2012
|Photo by Carol Rosegg|
Five-time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa penned the musical that traces the story of Anna Edson Taylor. Written as a vehicle for Testa (On the Town, 42nd Street, First Lady Suite, See What I Wanna See), Queen of the Mist has music, lyrics and a libretto by LaChiusa.
The album will be released in digital format and in stores June 19. The recording was made possible with generous support from The Shen Family Foundation. Kurt Deutsch and Joel Moss produced the album.
You can pre-order Queen of the Mist and listen to samples from the album at Sh-K-Boom Records here. For more cast album offerings, visit PlaybillStore.com.
The tracklist follows:
"Act One Opening"
"There Is Greatness In Me (Part One)"
"There Is Greatness In Me (Part Two)"
"Letter To Jane/The Tiger"
"Glorious Devil/The Waters"
"The Barrel/Cradle Or Coffin"
"Types Like You"
"Do The Pan"
"Laugh At The Tiger"
"On The Other Side"
"Act One Finale"
"The Quintessential Hero"
"Million Dolla' Momma"
"Bookings (Part One)"
"Break Down The Door"
"Bookings (Part Two)"
"The Fall/Act Two Finale"
The cast also included Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific, Tales of the City); D.C. Anderson (The Phantom of the Opera, The Life Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby); Stanley Bahorek (See Rock City & Other Destinations, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee); Theresa McCarthy (Titanic, Floyd Collins); Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party, First Lady Suite); and Tally Sessions (The House of Blue Leaves, Yank!).
The piece was commissioned by the Transport Group as part of its 20th Century Project, "a ten-year initiative spanning ten productions, each production focusing on a different decade of the 20th century." Queen of the Mist focuses on the decade 1900-1910.
Under the direction of Transport Group artistic director Jack Cummings III, the environmental production began previews Oct. 18, 2011, and officially opened Nov. 6 at The Gym at Judson Memorial Church. It played an extended run through Dec. 4.
Critics responded positively to the production and LaChiusa's score, which imbues character-driven material with musical flavors of the period. He described his approach for Queen of the Mist as utilizing "a panoply of music and musical styles. You think of the old piano roles and you think of the turn of the century music —waltzes and marches and Sousa marches, the old sentimental ballads — it encompasses a lot of that in this story."
Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Michael Starobin (Next to Normal, Sunday in the Park With George, Assassins) and musical direction is by Chris Fenwick. The album features a seven-piece orchestra under Fenwick's direction.
Here's how the show is billed: "Based on an astounding, outrageous, and haunting true story, Queen of the Mist stars two-time Tony nominee Mary Testa as Anna Edson Taylor, who, in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls — in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists, and activists. Convinced that there is greatness in her and determined not to live as ordinary, she sets out to battle her fear and tempt her fate. With a score that incorporates turn-of-the-century themes with signature LaChiusa elements, Queen of the Mist is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live."
LaChiusa's most recent work includes the music and lyrics to Giant (book by Sybille Pearson); Los Otros (book by Ellen Fitzhugh); and the score for Maria Aitken's production of As You Like It at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. As a composer, lyricist and librettist, his other works include Bernarda Alba, See What I Wanna See, The Highest Yellow, Little Fish, Hello Again, First Lady Suite and Break/Agnes/Eulogy for Mister Hamm. In the 1999-2000 Broadway season, his The Wild Party and Marie Christine received Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Book (with George C. Wolfe on The Wild Party) for each show and he received a Tony nomination for Best Book (Graciela Daniele and Jim Lewis) for Chronicle of a Death Foretold. His operas include Send (who are you? I love you), which premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, and Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations), which premiered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago where he was the Brena and Lee Freeman Composer-in-Residence. LaChiusa is an Obie Award winner for Hello Again and First Lady Suite.