Grey Gardens Goes Dormant April 30; Will It Bloom Anew on Broadway?

News   Grey Gardens Goes Dormant April 30; Will It Bloom Anew on Broadway?
The sold-out Playwrights Horizons production of the new American musical Grey Gardens, inspired by the documentary film of the same name, ends its extended Off-Broadway run April 30.

The audience hit, which earned mixed reviews from critics, snagged 12 Drama Desk Award nominations April 27. A cast album was recorded the same day on the PS Classics label. Will Gardens bloom anew in the future?

Commercial producers flocked to the run, but as of the closing date, no future plan for the production has been announced. Star Christine Ebersole has announced in recent TV interviews that the hope and plan is for the show to have a future life on Broadway.

If it moved, its physical production (a glorious parlor of a Long Island mansion in 1941 in Act One, and its ruins in Act Two) by Allen Moyer would need to be expanded and freshly built for a Broadway house.


PS Classics was in a Manhattan recording studio April 27 with the cast of Playwrights Horizons' Grey Gardens. The world premiere recording of the new musical by Doug Wright (book), Michael Korie (lyrics) and Scott Frankel (music) is expected to be released in late summer. Tommy Krasker, co-founder of PS Classics and album producer, told that he expects "one very full disc. We've gone for a very expansive, and I think very satisfying, treatment of the score. Let's face it, when you have a cast like this singing this caliber of material, you hate to make a lot of trims."

Krasker also noted that PS Classics has had more e-mails to the company website since the announcement of the Grey Gardens recording than they've had for any album in the last three years. "It's quite extraordinary; we've had hundreds of people signing up for our mailing list, to learn details of the recording and release date," Krasker said.

PS Classics albums are distributed by Image Entertainment, which also handles the DVD release of the film documentary source material: "Grey Gardens."


On April 14, Playwrights Horizons announced the run's third and final extension and that the lauded performances of Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson, and the rest of director Michael Greif's cast, will be preserved on a recording by PS Classics.

Grey Gardens tells the story of Jacqueline Bouvier's aunt and cousin, Edith Beale and Edie Beale, as they face a new chapter in their wealthy lives in 1941, at their Long Island estate known as Grey Gardens (in Act One) and as they later wallow in the ruins of the manse in the 1970s (Act Two).

(Tony Award-winner Ebersole has been widely praised for her work here because in Act One she plays the wealthy 40ish matron Edith Beale, in a turn that suggests a leading lady right out a Kern operetta; by Act Two she is playing Edith's middle-aged, loopy daughter, Edie — a juicy character part that requires head and chest voice to conjure anguish, loss, sadness and madness.)

The limited engagement was previously extended to April 23, which was the latest the musical could play due to the tech schedule for Playwrights Horizons' next production, Keith Bunin's The Busy World Is Hushed.

" As luck would have it," according to PH, "Grey Gardens set designer Allen Moyer also designed the set for The Busy World Is Hushed, and together with Playwrights Horizons' in-house production team, was able to figure out a schedule that would allow the musical to play one additional and final week without delaying the schedule for the Bunin play."

PS Classics, the Grammy Award-nominated record label, previously preserved the Playwrights Horizons production of My Life With Albertine on a cast album.

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The production opened at PH's Mainstage on West 42nd Street March 7 after previews from Feb. 10.


Grey Gardens recently earned five Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including Best Musical. The work is also the winner of a 2006 Richard Rodgers Production Award, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Musical staging is by Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun (the recent Big River, Grease!).

According to PH, "Grey Gardens concerns the deliciously eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who were once among the brightest names in the pre-Camelot social register, and are now East Hampton's most notorious recluses, living in a dilapidated 28-room mansion. Facing an uncertain future, Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter, 'Little' Edie, are forced to revisit their storied past and come to terms with it — for better, and for worse."

The cast also features Matt Cavenaugh, Sara Gettelfinger, Sarah Hyland, John McMartin, Michael Potts, Bob Stillman and Audrey Twitchell.

The production features scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Peter Kaczorowski, sound design by Brian Ronan and projections by Wendall K. Harrington. Orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin and music director is Lawrence Yurman.

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