Mary Zimmerman's "Revisal" of Candide Opens Dec. 7 in DC

News   Mary Zimmerman's "Revisal" of Candide Opens Dec. 7 in DC
Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman's new production of Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide, adapted by Zimmerman to include more of the Voltaire novel than usual, opens Dec. 7 in Washington, DC. Previews began Nov. 26.

Geoff Packard and Lauren Molina in Candide.
Geoff Packard and Lauren Molina in Candide. Photo by Liz Lauren

The co-production between DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company at Goodman Theatre began in Chicago this fall. Zimmerman's acclaimed productions include Metamorphoses (Tony Award for Direction) and The Arabian Nights, among others.

This is STC's first musical theatre performance at Sidney Harman Hall. With music by Bernstein ("Make Our Garden Grow," "Glitter and Be Gay"), the classic has lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John LaTouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Bernstein. The book is adapted from the original Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler (and now Zimmerman, too, at least for this staging). The original orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin.

Candide runs to Jan. 9, 2011 in DC.

According to STC, "Candide is the story of a privileged and naïve young man who stumbles upon calamity and struggles to adjust his unwaveringly optimistic world view. The title character faces many hilariously exaggerated misfortunes but clings to his belief that 'all is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds.' The 20th century classic, based on Voltaire's satire, is reinvigorated in a new adaptation by director and adaptor Mary Zimmerman."

Zimmerman's Candide, she told Playbill magazine, will be different from other Candides: "I went to Bernstein's estate and got permission to do a new version, a new adaptation. I know how many people have done it, but there's a bit of room for invention and creation." For example, she says, there's a scene in the novel that does not appear in most major adaptations (though it was in the Royal National Theatre's). Zimmerman explained, "It's more than midway through, when Candide runs across a slave who works in the sugar mills in Suriname who has had a hand and leg cut off. Candide asks how he lost the hand and leg, and the slave says that when someone catches a hand in the machinery it's much faster to cut it off. When a slave tries to run away a leg is cut off so he is slower. This is how the price of sugar is kept lower in Europe. And Candide says he is no longer an optimist. He says that clearly everything is not for the best. It's a turning point in the novel."

The cast of Candide features three actors native to Washington, DC: Tracy Lynn Oliviera, Margo Seibert and Thomas Adrian Simpson.

As at the Goodman, Geoff Packard plays Candide; Lauren Molina (Broadway's recent Sweeney Todd) plays Cunegonde; and Hollis Resnik plays the Old Lady. The cast also includes Tom Aulino, Spencer Curnutt, Rebecca Finnegan, Govind Kumar, Rob Lindley, Erik Lochtefeld, Jesse J. Perez, Emma Rosenthal, Chris Sizemore, Joey Stone, Tempe Thomas, Jonathan Weir and Larry Yando.

The creative team includes music director Doug Peck (also additional arrangements and orchestrations); choreographer Daniel Pelzig; set designer Daniel Ostling; costume designer Mara Blumenfeld; lighting designer T.J. Gerckens; and sound designer Richard Woodbury.

For tickets, call the box office at (202) 547-1122 or order online at

Hollis Resnik (center) and the cast of <i>Candide</i>
Hollis Resnik (center) and the cast of Candide
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