The estimated street date for the disc that preserves the 2011 Tony-nominated performance of Murphy (playing the same character in two different eras) is Dec. 15. The estimated pre-order date is Nov. 20. Visit kritzerland.com for more information about the release from the label dedicated to "hard-to-find classics, reissues and new releases."
The People in the Picture, the new original musical starring Murphy as an American grandmother remembering her days as a star in European Yiddish theatre and film, ended its limited Broadway run on schedule June 19 at Studio 54. It opened April 28 following previews from April 1.
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, in association with Tracy Aron, the musical has libretto and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart (the novelist of "Beaches") and music by Mike Stoller (Smokey Joe's Café) and Artie Butler (who wrote the pop standard "Here's to Life").
The album producer is Steve Epstein.
Musical direction is by Paul Gemignani, orchestrations by Michael Starobin and musical staging by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights). The "bubbie" of the 1970s and the diva of the 1930s are played by one woman — Murphy, the star of Broadway's Passion, The King and I, Wonderful Town and LoveMusik. She was nominated for a 2011 Best Actress (Musical) Tony Award for her turn.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
This world-premiere production was billed this way by the producers: "Once the darling of the Yiddish Theatre in pre-war Poland, now a grandmother in New York City, Bubbie [Donna Murphy] has had quite a life. But what will it all mean if she can't pass on her stories to the next generation? Though her granddaughter [Jenny, played by Rachel Resheff] is enchanted by her tales, her daughter Red [Nicole Parker] will do anything to keep from looking back. A fiercely funny and deeply moving new musical that spans three generations, The People in the Picture celebrates the importance of learning from our past, and the power of laughter."
The ambitious storytelling — taking place under an imposing gold frame that is the production's major scenic element — shifted from Jimmy Carter-era America to World War II-era Poland before and after Hitler's invasion, and was driven by several different musical styles (including American pop ballad and klezmer-kissed European uptempo songs). Projected animation was used to underscore mood and setting, and live video sequences (in black and white) recreated Polish films that the troupers made in the 1930s.
Dart told Playbill.com, "Both my parents were immigrants. My mother came over from Russia, my father from Lithuania. We had no money, but it was an idyllic childhood. I look back on it, and it's hard to figure out why. Eventually, I realized it was the sensibility of the Yiddish culture where there was so much laughter. There wasn't anything we couldn't turn into a joke. I spent my childhood laughing. That catapulted me into comedy writing. I'd learned to look at the world in a funny way."
The cast, directed by Leonard Foglia (Master Class), also featured Alexander Gemignani (Moishe), Christopher Innvar (Chaim), Hal Robinson (Doovie, Rabbi Velvel), Lewis J. Stadlen (Avram Krinsky), Joyce Van Patten (Chayesel), Chip Zien (Yossie Pinsker), Brad Bradley, Rachel Bress, Jeremy Davis, Emilee Dupre, Maya Goldman, Louis Hobson, Shannon Lewis, Jessica Lea Patty, Andie Mechanic, Megan Reinking, Jeffrey Schecter and Paul Anthony Stewart.
Murphy won Best Actress Tony Awards for The King and I and Passion. This year, her voice was heard as villainess Mother Gothel in the Disney animated feature "Tangled." She was Tony-nominated for playing Ruth in Wonderful Town and for conjuring Lotte Lenya in LoveMusik. For the Encores! concert series, she starred in Anyone Can Whistle, Wonderful Town and Follies.
The creative team also included Riccardo Hernandez (sets), Ann Hould-Ward (costumes), James F. Ingalls (lights), Dan Moses Schreier (sound), Elaine J. McCarthy (projections), Paul Huntley (hair and wigs) and Angelina Avallone (make-up).
View highlights from the show: