Marie Christine, the highly-anticipated new musical by rising composer Michael John LaChiusa, will begin previews Oct. 28 at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. The show, which stars Audra McDonald and Anthony Crivello, is expected to open Dec. 2, after more than a month of previews, and run through Jan. 2. Graciela Daniele directs and choreographs.
Because McDonald has become such a draw, Marie Christine is likely to extend beyond Jan. 2, but its life at the Beaumont is limited, due to the recent announcement that Contact, the hit "dance-play" currently at the Mitzi E. Newhouse, will reopen at the Beaumont in early March.
Marie Christine is a modern retelling of the Medea story. The tale is set in creole New Orleans a century ago. McDonald plays a passionate young woman who is in love with an ambitious sea captain, the Jason figure, played by Crivello. LaChiusa wrote the lead role with McDonald in mind.
Marie Christine represents a test of sorts for its composer and star. LaChiusa has earned a cult following with such musicals as Hello Again (at LCT), The Petrified Prince (at the Public Theater) and Chronicle of a Death Foretold on Broadway. Though each show has had its supporters and has nurtured interest in LaChiusa's future, none have proven a breakout critical or commercial hit. Marie Christine marks his most high-profile project to date.
The omnipresent McDonald most recently starred as Sarah in Ragtime, for which she won her third Tony (the previous two were for Master Class and Carousel ). But, though McDonald has been a star in the New York theatre world for some time now -- and has recently made inroads in recordings ("Audra McDonald"), cabaret (Joe's Pub) and television (the upcoming "Annie") -- this will be the first time she has been asked to carry a Broadway musical on her own. Crivello starred in the Kander and Ebb musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. He won a Tony for that role, but has been largely absent from the New York theatre scene since.
The musical's design is by Christopher Barreca (sets), Toni-Leslie James (costumes), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lights) and Scott Stauffer (sound). Musical direction is by David Evans; Jonathan Tunick did the orchestrations.
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