For the first time in 60 years, the first fully-staged, full-length revival of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a musical based on BetTy Smith's iconic American novel of the same name, will open in New York City March 20, 2011. Presented by the award-winning Peccadillo Theater Company, previews begin March 12 at Theatre at St. Clement's (423 W. 46th Street).
Written by a team of Broadway legends (Written and directed by George Abbott, Music and Lyrics by Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn opened at the Alvin Theatre in 1951 and ran for 267 performances. While audiences and critics alike raved about the Schwartz/Fields score, the libretto written by George Abbott and author BetTy Smith, was criticized for refocusing the story from twelve year-old Francie and her relationship with her troubled parents to the supporting character of Francie's eccentric Aunt Cissy.
The Peccadillo Theater Company's Artistic Director Dan Wackerman has worked with the award- winning librettist, Susan DiLallo on further revisions of the book putting Francie's story of her parents' troubled relationship front and center, just as it is in the much-loved novel and movie. It is Ms. DiLallo's thorough-going revision featuring Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields' finest score-- a pastiche of musical comedy, Irish folk songs and Broadway razzle dazzle-- that will premiere at Theatre at St. Clement's starting March 12, 2011. Exactly 60 years after the premiere of the Broadway production, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is poised to reclaim its proper place among the great, mid-century American musicals.
Hailed by the New York Times as "an inspiration" and "a star of the American musical theater," A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the poignant story of the Nolan family, beginning in 1902 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There's Johnny Nolan, a ne'er do well singer with dreams of Broadway glory, his wife, Katie, struggling to make a better life for her family, and twelve year-old Francie, an aspiring writer who relies on her imagination and her love of reading to get through hard times.
The cast of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn includes Jim Stanek as Johnny, Elizabeth Loyacano as Katie, Keaton Whittaker as Francie, KLea Blackhurst as Cissy, Timothy Shew as Oscar, LiAnne Marie Dobbs as Hildy, Jason Simon as Aloysius, Thursday Farrar as Nellie. The cast also includes Matthew Bauman, Lauren Blackman, Jack Doyle, Christopher Kauffmann, Freddie Kimmel, Leah Landau, Kenny Morris, Johnny Stellard, and Toni Elizabeth White.
Led by Obie award-winning director, Dan Wackerman, the creative team includes musical director Kristen Blodgette, musical director of Broadway's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and currently musical director of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and choreographer Richard Stafford whose credits include choreography for Broadway's In My Life. Scenic design is by Joseph Spirito, lighting design by Kate Ashton, and costume design by Amy Bradshaw. Executive producer is Sarahbeth Grossman, who produced The Irish Curse Off Broadway last season. Producer is Kevin Kennedy, Managing Director of the Peccadillo Theater Company.
Founded in 1994, The Peccadillo Theater Company is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the rediscovery of classic American theater, particularly those works which, despite their obvious literary and theatrical value, are not regularly revived.
Beginning with Eugene O'Neill (generally considered the starting point of modern American theater), Peccadillo concentrates on the era of the so-called well-made play, a period of sparkling wit and sophistication in comedy as well as deepening realism in the drama. It encompasses such diverse and little-known dramas as The Silver Cord by Sidney Howard, Jane by S.N. Behrman, Morning Star by Sylvia Regan, The Shanghai Gesture by John Colton as well as the neglected plays of celebrated authors like Dorothy Parker and John O'Hara. Taken as a whole, this work represents nothing less than the American experience itself in all its contradictions and screwball energy.
The mission of The Peccadillo Theater Company is to restore these buried gems to their rightful owners- the American theatergoer. In recent years, Peccadillo has broadened its mission to include original plays and musicals that share some of the virtues of classic American theater- qualities such as period style, well-defined characters and strong plotting. Such was the case with The Talk of the Town, an original musical about the legendary wits of the Algonquin Roundtable, several of whose plays Peccadillo has produced. And Zero Hour, a one-man show about the actor/comedian, Zero Mostel, whose appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee was just as explosive as his stage performances. Peccadillo's most recent production was its critically acclaimed revival of Lillian Hellman's, Another Part of the Forest, the first production of the play in New York City in decades.
Performances at Theatre at St. Clements, 423 W 46th Street, New York City, will run from March 12th through April 3rd, 2011.
Tuesday & Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, Thursday - Saturday evenings at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets may be purchased by phone through Ovation Tix at 212-352-3101 or online by visiting www.ThePeccadillo.com.