Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) announced today that it has commissioned FAR FROM HEAVEN, a new musical with book by Tony Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out, Three Days of Rain), music by Tony Award nominee Scott Frankel (Grey Gardens) and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, The Grapes of Wrath). The musical is being adapted from the acclaimed, award-winning 2002 Focus Features/Vulcan Productions motion picture Far From Heaven, written and directed by Todd Haynes.
FAR FROM HEAVEN tells the story of Cathy Whitaker, a 1950s housewife living in suburban Hartford who watches as her seemingly perfect life begin to fall apart. The film echoes "women's films" of the 1950s (especially those of Douglas Sirk, director of All That Heaven Allows and Imitation of Life) to tell a story that deals with complex contemporary issues including sexual and racial prejudice.
FAR FROM HEAVEN has been commissioned under the auspices of the Playwrights Horizons Musicals in Partnership Initiative, which was created through a visionary grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program allows Playwrights Horizons to develop new works of musical theater, each in partnership with a Regional theater - wholly within the not-for-profit system. This seven-year program aims to commission at least four new works of musical theater and develop and produce three or four full-scale productions. Each of the three musicals will be produced at both one specific Regional partner and at Playwrights Horizons. A regional theater producing partner will be announced in future months, along with a director and production timetable.
The original 2002 film, which stars Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert and Patricia Clarkson, has earned over 100 awards, honors and nominations. It was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Actress (Julianne Moore), Best Original Screenplay (Todd Haynes), Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman) and Best Original Score (Elmer Bernstein), and was named one of the 10 Best Movies of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly. It was also named Best Film of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Village Voice, among many others. Far From Heaven also earned 4 Golden Globe nominations including Best Screenplay, a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a bevy of additional awards for leading actress Julianne Moore, including one from the National Board of Review Award and nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes.
With FAR FROM HEAVEN, Playwrights Horizons continues its commitment to developing unique and ground-breaking new musicals, including Grey Gardens, James Joyce's The Dead, Floyd Collins, Assassins, Once on This Island and Sunday in the Park with George. FAR FROM HEAVEN reunites the theater company with Mr. Frankel and Mr. Korie, the composer and lyricist of Grey Gardens, which was one of Playwrights Horizons' most heralded original musicals. The project also marks the long-awaited return to the theater company of Mr. Greenberg, who was last represented there in 1987 with his play The Maderati.
"FAR FROM HEAVEN is an exciting project for this illustrious team of writers and this theater to collaborate on," said Artistic Director Tim Sanford. "The source material is a work of style and substance, with complex characters and large, timely themes. These qualities play to the strengths of each of these writers, and I am confident they will deliver a beautiful, humane work of real consequence."
Playwrights Horizons' season productions are generously supported by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Playwrights Horizons is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In addition, Playwrights Horizons receives major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Time Warner Inc., the Charina Endowment Fund and the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation.
For subscription and ticket information to all Playwrights Horizons productions, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8 pm daily, or purchase online at the Playwrights Horizons website at www.playwrightshorizons.org.
Richard Greenberg (Book) is the author of Take Me Out (2003 Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Play; 2003 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Three Days of Rain (1998 Pulitzer Prize finalist), The Violet Hour, The Dazzle and many other plays.
Scott Frankel (Music) was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his work on Grey Gardens. He's written the music for Happiness (Lincoln Center Theatre), Doll (Ravinia Festival, Richard Rodgers Award) and Meet Mister Future (winner, Global Search for New Musicals), all with lyricist Michael Korie. As a music director, conductor and pianist, his Broadway credits include Into the Woods, Les Misérables, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Rags and Falsettos as well as Off-Broadway's Putting It Together starring Julie Andrews. Motion picture credits include Mike Nichols' Postcards From the Edge, where he can be seen (and heard) playing for Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. His many recordings include Barbra Streisand's Back to Broadway and a slew of original cast albums. Mr. Frankel is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and the Frederick Loewe Award. He is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and a graduate of Yale University.
Michael Korie (Lyrics) was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his lyrics to Grey Gardens (composer Scott Frankel, book by Doug Wright). The musical was produced at Playwrights Horizons, transferred to Broadway, recorded on PS Classics, subsequently produced throughout America and abroad and profiled in a new documentary film by AlBert Maysles which was broadcast on PBS. Also with composer Frankel, Korie created lyrics to Happiness (book by John Weidman, Lincoln Center Theater). Upcoming Theater: Doctor Zhivago (music by Lucy Simon, book by Michael Weller, co-lyrics by Amy Powers, premieres in Australia in March 2011). For opera, Korie wrote the libretto to composer Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath (Minnesota Opera, L.A. Disney Concert Hall, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Carnegie Hall) and StewArt Wallace's Harvey Milk (S.F. Opera, Houston Grand Opera, NYCO), Hopper's Wife (Long Beach Opera), Kabbalah (BAM Next Wave Festival) and Where's Dick? (Houston Grand Opera). Upcoming Opera: The Garden of Finzi Continis (music by Ricky Ian Gordon, premiere for Minnesota Opera's 50th Anniversary 2013 season), Senna (music Michael Torke, commission for Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera). Korie's lyrics have received The Kleban Award, Jonathan Larson Foundation Award and ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award. He teaches lyric-writing at Yale, and serves as an artistic advisor to emerging opera composers and librettists at the American Lyric Theater.
Playwrights Horizons, celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season, is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American Playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus, the theater company continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. In its 40 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 writers and has received numerous awards and honors, including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for "ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work." Notable productions include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play), Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I, Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, Amy Herzog's After the Revolution, Melissa James Gibson's This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist), Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards), Craig Lucas's Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Adam Rapp's Kindness, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins, Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone, Bruce Norris's The Pain and the Itch, Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award), Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award), Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead, William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere and Franny's Way, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island, Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room, A.R. Gurney's Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.