Texas-Bound Giant Musical Gets NYC Reading With Kate Baldwin, Michael Esper and Steven Pasquale | Playbill

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News Texas-Bound Giant Musical Gets NYC Reading With Kate Baldwin, Michael Esper and Steven Pasquale Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin, Michael Esper and Steven Pasquale were among the cast of the Jan. 10 Manhattan reading of the new Michael John LaChiusa musical Giant, which was presented under the auspices of the Public Theater.

Michael Esper
Michael Esper Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award-nominated director Michael Greif (Next to Normal, Rent), who is also directing Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures for the Public, helmed the reading of the ambitious, three-hour Texas-set work based on Edna Ferber's 1952 novel.

The Public Theater has not officially announced Giant as part of its upcoming season, but the Dallas Theater Center revealed last spring that it would align with the Public on the future development of the musical. According to representatives at DTC, Giant will get a winter 2012 Dallas production, with Greif again at the helm. Casting for the New York City reading does not necessarily reflct future full-production casting.

Giant has a score by five-time Tony Award nominee LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party) and a book by Tony nominee Sybille Pearson (Baby).

Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow) was cast in the role of Leslie, with Pasquale (Intelligent Homosexual's Guide) as her husband, Texas cattleman Bick, and Esper (American Idiot) as young oil tycoon Jett.

Also featured in the reading were Tom Wopat, Natalie Cortez, Julie Tolivar, Lori Wilner, Matt Doyle, Claybourne Elder, Leah Hocking, Raul Aranas, Miguel Cervantes, Michael Berry, Robert Creighton, Michelle Rios, Martin Sola, Matthew Stocke, Katie Thompson and Rocio Del Mar Valles. Many cast members in the Public reading also appeared in the 2009 world premiere of Giant at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Jonathan Butterell directed Giant at the Signature, where the original running time was just under four hours. The plot covers 25 years of history.

"Giant chronicles the life and times of cattleman Jordan Bick Benedict, his naïve young society wife, and their family in the sweeping panorama of Texas, the land that brings them together and almost splits them apart," according to the original Signature notes. "A sensational story of power, love, lust, and bigotry among the wealthy Anglo cattle barons and oil tycoons, and the downtrodden Mexican-Americans who work for them, Giant is based on the classic novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Ferber, which also inspired the film starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson."

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