World-Premiere Musicals Bull Durham and Tuck Everlasting Will Bow in Atlanta

By Adam Hetrick
03 Mar 2014

Joshua Bergasse
Joshua Bergasse
Photo by Lee Cherry

Two world-premiere musicals, Bull Durham and the Broadway-aimed Tuck Everlasting, will be presented as part of the Alliance Theatre's 2014-15 season, the Atlanta, GA-based regional theatre announced March 3.

As previously reported by Playbill.com, Bull Durham is written by the film's original screenwriter Ron Shelton, who has adapted his screenplay for the musical, which has music and lyrics by Susan Werner. The romantic story is set within the world of minor league baseball.

Kip Fagan (The Revisionist) will stage the production that opens the season Sept. 3-Oct. 5. Creative team members also include choreographer Joshua Bergasse ("Smash") and musical director Jason DeBord.

Here's how the Alliance bills the musical: "Bull Durham, loosely based on Ron Shelton's experiences on and off the field with a Minor League Baseball team, tells the story of three lives brought together by America's two favorite pastimes – baseball and romance. Veteran catcher 'Crash' Davis has been brought to the Durham Bulls to prepare rookie Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh, a hot rod pitcher with a 'million dollar arm and a five cent head,' for the majors. Annie Savoy, self-appointed high priestess and muse of the Bulls, has a hard decision to make - every season she transforms one lucky player from an also-ran to an all-star by sharing with them her wisdom, experience and bed. The love triangle heats up quickly as they struggle with their own desires and hopes for what the future holds. A pitch perfect blend of comedy, drama, and steamy romance, Bull Durham will leave you cheering from the stands."



Also announced is the world premiere of the new musical Tuck Everlasting, which was originally scheduled to play a pre-Broadway Boston engagement last summer. Producers announced last spring that they would delay the musical's Broadway arrival due to the lack of an available theatre during the 2013-14 season. It will now premiere Jan. 21-Feb. 22, 2015, in Atlanta.

Based on Natalie Babbitt's popular 1975 children's novel, Tuck Everlasting has a score by Burnt Part Boys songwriters Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and a book by Tony Award-nominated playwright Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde).

Tony Award-winning Book of Mormon director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, The Drowsy Chaperone) will stage the premiere that runs Jan. 21-Feb. 22, 2015. Producers are still hopeful that the work will have a future Broadway life.

According to the Alliance, "A young girl dreaming of adventure meets a family with a fabulous secret. Their chance encounter will change them all forever. Take an exhilarating journey you'll never forget in this new musical about everlasting love, never-ending life, and discovering what it means to truly feel alive. Based on the beloved, best-selling, award-winning novel by Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting comes to life on stage in a wholly original production."

The Alliance Theatre's season will also include Robert Harling's poignant comedy Steel Magnolias (Oct. 22-Nov. 9), helmed by Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, as well as world premieres by Atlanta-based playwright Pearl Cleage, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Phillip DePoy and Kendeda Playwriting Competition winner Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert.

Additional productions in the Alliance season follow:

Alliance Stage

Tell Me My Dream
By Pearl Cleage
Directed by Susan V. Booth
April 15–May 10, 2015
"Tell Me My Dream introduces a family for whom music is as necessary as freedom and a city that is just beginning to hear their song. As she did in The Nacirema Society Requests and again in What I Learned in Paris, Pearl Cleage weaves a story that is steeped in history, but grounded in the heart of characters you will never forget and the music that changed their lives. This play allows characters in 1910 and the present to learn from each other, with modern day adolescents being drawn into a time before technology."

Hertz Stage

Native Guard
By U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey
Directed by Susan V. Booth
Sept. 26-Oct. 19
"'Trethewey's "Native Guard' will be adapted for the stage for the first time in this special Hertz Stage world premiere. Native Guard juxtaposes the deeply personal experiences of Trethewey, a child of a then illegal marriage between her black mother and white father living in 1960s Mississippi, with the experience of a soldier in the Native Guard, the first African-American Union troop in the Civil War who was charged with guarding white Confederate captives. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten."

It's a Wonderful Laugh
By The Dad's Garage Ensemble
Directed by Kevin Gillese
Nov. 28–Dec. 20
"Dad’s Garage invades Bedford Falls and the Hertz Stage, where the audience plays a part in each night’s invasion."

The C.A. Lyon's Project
By Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert
Feb. 13–March 8, 2015
"The 80's. Black was in. They invented it. The founder of one of the city's most important African-American dance companies is dying of AIDS, and the three lead dancers must find the strength and individual creative push to keep the company going without their charismatic leader. These are the Three Graces of the 20th Century: Chaos Unit, a tattooed hip hop phenome; Bethlehem Dunning a ballerina raised by a deaf mother; and Amandla Sister Afrika, who seems to be in a continuous state of rebellion."

Edward Foote
By Phillip DePoy
Directed by Chris Coleman
March 27–April 19
"A stranger comes to town, looking terribly familiar to the residents of a tiny rugged Appalachian community in the 1930s. Could it be that Edward Foote, a drunken good-for-nothing father, has returned? In this Southern Gothic mystery, a small community is forced to reveal its darkest secrets. This world premiere Appalachian noir features a captivating story told against the backdrop of folk-songs and haunting shape note singing (featured in the film Cold Mountain). Phillip DePoy, a pillar of the Atlanta theatre community with a long tenure directing University theatre programs, marries his love of mystery writing and love of theatrical classics into an exciting new work."

Children and family programming includes the world premiere of Courage, Scott Warren's adaptation of "Red Badge of Courage" (Nov. 3); A Christmas Carol (Nov. 21-Dec. 14); and a musical adaptation of James and the Giant Peach (March 14-29, 2015). The Alliance is still determining which musical version of the Roald Dahl work they will produce.

Tickets for individual productions go on sale in July. Visit alliancetheatre.org.