Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof) will star as Rosalind Franklin in Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts' world premiere musical Double Helix, opening Bay Street's 2023 season beginning May 30. The run will continue through June 18, with opening night planned for June 3.
The work, written and composed by Madeline Myers, follows Rosalind Franklin, a real-life researcher and scientist who fought against anti-semitism and other adversities to discover the structure of DNA. The musical's premiere coincides with the 70th anniversary of the discovery.
"When I began writing Double Helix in 2019, I knew I wanted the role of Rosalind Franklin to be played by Samantha Massell," says Myers. "She is an actor whose extraordinary skill as a musical storyteller felt profoundly aligned with the force of character that is Rosalind Franklin. My goal in writing this character has been to render Rosalind as truthfully as possible—not just as a scientist but also as a woman. It’s particularly meaningful to me, as a Jewish woman, for Rosalind Franklin, a Jewish woman, to be brought to life by Samantha, a Jewish woman. The artistry and humanity Samantha brings to this role is something really, really special."
"After developing the role of Rosalind Franklin for more than four years, I am thrilled to finally get to share Double Helix with the Bay Street Theater audience this summer," adds Massell. "Madeline’s work is extraordinary and pushes the boundaries of musical theatre into new and exciting territory, not unlike how Rosalind pushed to be taken seriously as a Jewish woman in a man’s world post-WW2. I’m thrilled to see this Jewish story cast authentically/helmed by a predominantly Jewish team, to explore the topic of science after these last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to dig into this inspiring role and show."
The production will be directed by Scott Schwartz.