By Kenneth Jones
15 Apr 2005
The Goodspeed production of the stage version of the classic M-G-M film plays April 15-June 26 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. Greg Ganakas directs, Patti Colombo is choreographer.
The stage show retains the signature physical style of the film and is filled with bounding actors who seem to defy gravity as they chop wood, woo women and raise a church (it's a barn-raising in the motion picture).
"When eldest brother Adam gets himself a bride, his backwoods brothers set out to capture their own," according to Goodspeed. "It takes a long, hard winter for these rough and rowdy boys to win over their brides with flowers and romance."
The show has a score by Gene de Paul (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics), who wrote Li'l Abner. The book is by Lawrence Kasha and David S. Landay, based on the screenplay and "The Sobbin' Women" by Stephen Vincent Benet.
Jacquelyn Piro (Les MisÚrables, Under the Bridge) plays Adam's love interest, Milly. Their union inspires the brothers to take brides.
Howard Keel and Jane Powell created the lead roles in the motion picture, which was released recently in a special edition DVD.
Additional songs for the stage version are by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. The stage show Seven Brides for Seven Brothers appeared on Broadway in 1982 at the Alvin Theatre, with Debby Boone as Milly and songs by Kasha and Hirschhorn.
The show has been revised since '82, a spokesman said. The Goodspeed version includes two new Kasha-Hirschhorn songs, and the score has been re-orchestrated to give it a more folky flavor. Three actors in the company play instruments on stage. Expect fiddle, squeezebox, flute and guitar to be part of the mix.
The brothers will be portrayed at Goodspeed by Kevin Bernard as Caleb; Jim T. Ruttman as Benjamin; Eric Sciotto as Frank; David Tankersley as Daniel; Karl Warden as Ephraim and Brian Hissong as Gideon.
The brides for the brothers will be portrayed by Natalie Stone as Liza; Sarah Jane Everman as Alice; Sara Hart as Sara; Heather Janneck as Martha; Liz Pearce as Ruth; Mahri Relin as Dorcas.
The cast also includes Matt Baker, David Barron, Drew DiStefano, Tom Flagg, Drew Franklin, Trevor Illingworth, Ryan Jackson, Anna McKneely, Emily Mikesell, Shane Rhoades and Spiff Weingard.
Ryan Scott Ghysels and Christina Hedrick are swings for this production.
At Goodspeed, Greg Ganakas has directed Babes in Arms, Brigadoon, George M! and The Pajama Game.
The musical director is Michael O'Flaherty. Greg Brown is assistant music director with orchestrations by Michael Morris. Sets are designed by Russell Methany with costumes designed by Gregory Gale. Lighting is designed by Michael Lincoln.
Seven Brides is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.
For more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.