By Carey Purcell
18 Jul 2013
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
Excitement was in the air at City Center as the audience gathered for the concert performance of Violet. With music by Tesori and libretto by Brian Crawley, Violet was performed Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1997 and in a 2003 reunion concert featuring the original cast. The July 17 one-night-only performance, featuring an all-star cast that included two-time Tony winner Foster, Tony nominee Henry and Tony nominee Keala Settle, sold out quickly.
The lucky few who were in attendance were not disappointed; the production was beautifully performed, honoring the simplicity of the story as well as the complex emotions of the characters.
Inspired by Doris Betts' short story "The Ugliest Pilgrim," Violet follows the title character, who embarks on a pilgrimage to find a TV evangelical preacher known for performing miracle cures. Injured by a flying ax blade that cut her face as a teenager and left with an enormous scar, Violet believes the preacher can cure her of her disfigurement and make her beautiful. On her journey, she meets two soliders, Monty (Hughes) and his army buddy Flick (Henry), both of whom vie for her affection while she undergoes a transformation, although not the one she may have expected.