Kathleen Marshall Will Helm New Adaptation of The Unsinkable Molly Brown at Denver Center Theatre

By Michael Gioia
February 20, 2014

A new adaptation of Meredith Willson's classic musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, will kick off Denver Center Theatre Company's 2014-15 season.



Producing artistic director Kent Thompson announced that three-time Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie) will combine his new book with never-before-heard songs from the catalogue of Willson (The Music Man) for the musical that is based on the book by Richard Morris.

"Early on in the process of adapting The Unsinkable Molly Brown for a new generation of musical comedy lovers and unearthing treasures in Meredith Willson's previously unopened trunk of songs, I knew that the Denver Center Theatre Company was the perfect place for our maiden voyage," said Scanlan in a statement. "DCTC's long history of doing great productions of new shows, coupled with the special place the real life Molly Brown holds in Colorado's heart, adds up to a match made in heaven. Kind of like Molly and J.J. Brown, the fiery and fun couple whose story we're celebrating."

Here's how the musical is billed: "Rooted in extensive research of Colorado's turbulent Gold Rush era, the story traces Molly's rise from a small-town tomboy to a member of Denver's high society. Lead by Kathleen Marshall, one of Broadway's most successful director/choreographers (Wonderful Town, The Pajama Game, Anything Goes), and buoyed by classic and new songs by Meredith Willson, the heart of this musical comedy is the tempestuous can't-live-with him/can't live without him love story that survives the Silver Boom, the Gold Rush, and the R.M.S. Titanic. First immortalized in the 1960 Broadway musical, Molly Brown was also at the heart of the very successful movie musical adaptation starring Debbie Reynolds and among the dramatic highlights of James Cameron's box office movie hit, 'Titanic.'"

"We are thrilled to produce this new adaptation of The Unsinkable Molly Brown," added producing artistic director Thompson. "With a first class Broadway creative team and featuring the story of one of Colorado's most famous and successful women, I couldn't imagine the show premiering elsewhere. Please know – this isn't the classic musical you think you know! It's even better. It is fresh, romantic and entertaining."

The Unsinkable Molly Brown will run Sept. 12-Oct. 26 with an official opening set for Sept. 19 in the Stage Theatre.

The piece was workshopped at the 2009 Colorado New Play Summit, under Marshall's direction, and a Manhattan reading in December 2011 starred Sutton Foster and Marc Kudisch.

"I am absolutely delighted that our first production of this newly imagined version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown will be happening in Denver," said Marshall. "The Denver Center is a great company with an amazing facility and it is the perfect place to rediscover the incredible story of the adventures and romance of Molly and J.J. Brown."

The full DCTC season and casting for Molly Brown will be announced at a later date.

For more information, visit DenverCenter.org.