Little Edie Dances and Sings

I learned last week that Grey Gardens, a documentary I recently saw and highly recommend, has been adapted into a musical. I have to say, I’m very intrigued.

Grey Gardens: A New Musical, by librettist Doug Wright, composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie, will be one of four world premieres in the 2005-06 season of Playwrights Horizons, the Off-Broadway company announced.

Michael Greif (Rent ) will direct the musical inspired by the creepy cult film documentary about relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier living in a squalid Long Island mansion. Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole (of the recent 42nd Street and Broadway’s current Steel Magnolias) and Mary Louise Wilson (Cabaret, Full Gallop) will star as daughter and mother Edie and Edith Bouvier Beale.

Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for I Am My Own Wife, which began at PH prior to its Tony Award-winning run on Broadway. Composer Frankel is known as a musical director for Broadway’s Falsettos and Off-Broadway’s Putting It Together. Korie collaborated on the opera Harvey Milk, and is working with composer Lucy Simon on the new “Dr. Zhivago” musical.

Additional casting for the PH Mainstage production will be announced. The 1976 film “Grey Gardens,” a Maysles Brothers Films Inc. Production, directed by David and Albert Maysles, was recently released on DVD. The film shows the dissipated Edith Bouvier Beale (age 79) and daughter Edie (age 57) in their decaying 28-room East Hampton home. Edith was aunt and Edie was cousin to Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

“Facing an uncertain future, Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter, ‘Little’ Edie, are forced to revisit their storied past and come to terms with it – for better, and for worse,” according to PH production notes.

(from Playbill)

The pedigree for the show seems top-notch. I saw Mary Louise Wilson in the one-woman play Full Gallop (Was that really way back in 1996?!?!), where she starred as fashion editor Diana Vreeland, and she was excellent. Perhaps Grey Gardens (the musical) will be cause for my much needed return to NYC.

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