Boston's Stoneham Theatre Takes a Whack at Lizzie Borden, the Musical, in May 2004 | Playbill

News Boston's Stoneham Theatre Takes a Whack at Lizzie Borden, the Musical, in May 2004
The Massachusetts-set musical, Lizzie Borden, will make its Massachusetts premiere May 6-30 at the Stoneham Theatre in Stoneham, north of Boston.

The exploration of the world of the famous alleged killer of her parents — she of the 40 whacks with her axe — has book and music by Christopher McGovern and lyrics by Christopher McGovern and Amy Powers.

The show had a hit, high-profile run presented by Goodspeed Musicals in 2001, in Chester, CT, starring Christiane Noll. The experience is said to be a kind of musical whodunnit told as an emotional journey (rather than a linear tale) of would-be murderess Lizzie Borden.

Bill Castellino, who directed at Goodspeed, again helms. Designers for Goodspeed were Michael Anania (set) and Paul Miller (lights).

"It's been a long journey from that first reading at the York [Theatre Company] in 1997 to here and it isn't done yet," co-creator McGovern told Playbill On-Line. "I took full advantage of being able to write and rehearse in the Goodspeed-at-Chester run — what a great opportunity to re-tool, and I have nothing but gratitude to [Goodspeed associate producer] Sue Frost for being such a champion of the project."

McGovern said "about two-thirds of the book was re-written last time around, so I believe the majority of that work is completed. But every production is an opportunity not only to revisit the show itself, but also to continue trying to expose it to a larger number of people – audiences and industry types alike. I have a very special fondness for the piece and as always great hopes for its future. The show seems a perfect fit for [Stoneham], not to mention they are in Massachusetts — Lizzie's home state!" Stoneham Theatre opened in December 2000 (created by a local philanthropist) and it's now the fifth-largest regional theatre in Greater Boston, operating under an SPT-7 contract with Actors' Equity Association. The theatre, a former vaudeville-movie house on the north side of Boston, seats 350.

The 2003-04 Stoneham season also includes the world premiere musical, The Girl in the Frame, by lyricist-librettist-composer Jeremy Desmon, Oct. 30-Nov 9.

Stoneham's artistic director is Weylin Symes. The producing director is Troy Siebels.

For information about Stoneham Theatre, visit

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