New Musical Giant, Starring Kate Baldwin, Brian D'Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Sweeps Into the Public Oct. 26

By Adam Hetrick
26 Oct 2012

Kate Baldwin in the Dallas production of Giant.
Kate Baldwin in the Dallas production of Giant.
Photo by Karen Almond

Giant, the ambitious Michael John LaChiusa-Sybille Pearson musical based on Edna Ferber's sweeping Texas-set novel about love, greed and power that spans generations, receives its New York debut Oct. 26 Off-Broadway at The Public Theater.

Michael Greif (Next to Normal, Rent, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...) helms the production that will officially open Nov. 13 for a run through Dec. 2. The musical, which features a 17-member orchestra, is based on Ferber's novel but is best known for its iconic 1956 film version that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.

Giant has music and lyrics by five-time Tony Award nominee LaChiusa (Queen of the Mist, Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party) and a book by Tony nominee Pearson (Baby). The musical had its world premiere at the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, VA, in 2009, where it clocked in at four hours. The writers have continued to refine the production, paring the running time down for New York.

Prior to its New York bow, Giant was seen in a revised staging at the Dallas Theater Center last winter, also under Greif's direction. Giant is a co-production between the Dallas Theater Center and the Public.



The Public also premiered LaChiusa's The Wild Party, See What I Wanna See, The Petrified Prince and First Lady Suite.

"In a lot of ways, like the great Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Michael John and Sybille's musical is not only about very intense personal relationships, expressed beautifully in song, but also about how people live in communities, and have great heroic, history-changing effects on those communities, this musical is much like that," Greif told Playbill in a recent interview. 

Giant's central love triangle features Kate Baldwin, a Tony Award nominee for Finian's Rainbow, as Leslie, opposite Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James (Titanic, Shrek, Sweet Smell of Success, "Smash") as wealthy Texas cattle man Bick and P.J. Griffith (American Idiot) as young oil tycoon Jett. Baldwin and Griffith originated their respective roles in the DTC production.

Brian d'Arcy James

Much of the original DTC cast reunites for the Off-Broadway production, with the addition of Tony Award winner Michele Pawk as Luz, MacKenzie Mauzy as Lil Luz, Tony nominee Bobby Steggert as Jordy Jr./Jordy Sr. and Jon Fletcher as Bobby Jr./Bobby Sr.

The cast is completed by Enrique Acevedo as ensemble; Raul Aranas as Polo; Mary Bacon as Adarene and Mrs. Lyntonn; Miguel Cervantes as Angel, Jr. and Angel, Sr.; Natalie Cortez as Juana; Rocio Del Mar Valles as Analita; Tony nominee John Dossett as Bawley; Michael Halling as Lord Kafrey; Doreen Montalvo as Lupe; Allison Rogers as Heidi; Isabel Santiago as ensemble; Martin Sola as Dimodeo; Matthew Stocke as Mike; Katie Thompson as Vashti; and William Youmans as Pinkie.

According to the Public, "Giant is a new American musical that spans generations in an epic chronicle of the state that’s like no place else on earth: Texas. Amid a turbulent culture of greed, bigotry and money, a powerful cattleman, his new East Coast bride, their family and friends – not to mention their enemies – embrace and confront the joys and sorrows that loom as large as the state they call home."

The Giant creative team includes costume designer Jeff Mashie, scenic designer Allen Moyer, lighting designer Ken Posner, sound designer Brian Ronan and choreographer Alex Sanchez. Chris Fenwick is musical director. Orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin.

For tickets phone (212) 967-7555, or visit PublicTheater. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.