By Murdoch McBride
31 Mar 2000
Julie Taymor's The Green Bird starts previews April 1 at the Cort Theatre. The director’s first Broadway show since her acclaimed Disney production of Lion King opens on April 18.
As reported earlier, the proceeds from a preview performance on April 13 will be dedicated to Save the Children. That benefit show will feature a special Q & A session with the director and cast.
A double Tony Award-winner for Disney's hit, The Lion King, Taymor’s credits also include the Off-Broadway show, Juan Darien. Taymor has generated tremendous excitement over the years with her mask and puppet work; Taymor not only directs Green Bird, but has created the show's masks and puppets as well.
This is Taymor's second New York production of The Green Bird. Her first production of the show debuted to critical acclaim at Off-Broadway's New Victory Theatre in spring 1996. That Theatre for a New Audience production played just 15 performances and garnered Derek Smith an Obie award for acting. Following the New Victory Theatre's limited engagement, Green Bird ran successfully at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Included in the current cast are Didi Conn, Ned Eisenberg, Sebastian Roché, Reg E. Cathy, Edward Hibbert, Katie MacNichol, Kristine Nielsen, Sophia Salguero, Derek Smith, Bruce Turk, Erico Villanueva and Andrew Weems. (Featured in the 1996 production of Green Bird were Trellis Stepter, Priscilla Shanks, Lee Lewis, Weems, Conn, Eisenberg, Myriam Cyr, Roche, Turk, Nielsen, and Villanueva.)
The Green Bird will feature music by Taymor's long time partner and collaborator, composer Elliot Goldenthal.
Production sources describe the story -- about a king who longs for his lost wife, and brother-and sister twins searching for their true identities -- as a "wicked comedy of outrageous characters in which fantasy and the truest love meet in a place unlike any ever seen." Taymor has said The Green Bird has a "wonderful grotesquery and poetry to it -- an edgy bawdiness." Green Bird was written by Italian playwright Gozzi in the 18th century.
Translated by Albert Bermel & Ted Emery, producers for the Broadway production are Ostar Enterprises and Theatre for a New Audience (where Jeffrey Horowitz is the artistic director) as well as Nina Lannan.
The production team for Green Bird comprises scenic designer Christine Jones, costume designer Constance Hoffman and lighting designer Donald Holder (The Lion King).
Taymor's breakthrough collaboration with Elliot Goldenthal,Juan Darien, was produced Off Broadway in 1988. That production won both Taymor and Goldenthal Obie Awards. The show also ran at Lincoln Center Theater in 1996 and was nominated for five Tony Awards.
Tickets for the April 13 benefit run $150 for orchestra/mezzanine and $100 for the balcony. Regular tickets run $45 - $75. Green Bird will run at Broadway's Cort Theatre, located at 138 West 48th Street. For benefit tickets call (800) 844-0526. For Save the Children information call (800) 728-3843. For regular Green Bird information and tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com or the Cort Theatre box office.