Imperial Theatre, (5/02/2007 - 5/27/2007)

First Preview: Apr 16, 2007
Opening Date: May 02, 2007
Closing Date: May 27, 2007
Total Previews: 17
Total Performances: 30

Category: Play, Drama, Play with music, Original, Broadway
Description: A play in two acts
Setting: England in 1742 and 1750

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Philip J. Smith: President; Robert E. Wankel: Executive Vice President)

Produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Philip J. Smith: President; Robert E. Wankel: Executive Vice President), Roy Furman, Lawrence Horowitz, Stephanie McClelland, Debra Black/Daryl Roth, Eric Falkenstein/Ralph Guild and Élan McAllister/Allan S. Gordon; Produced in association with Jamie deRoy, Jam Theatricals/CPI, Harriet Leve/Ron Nicynski/Laurence Braun and Bill Rollnick/Nancy Ellison Rollnick

Originally produced by The National Theatre of Great Britain

Adapted by Helen Edmundson; From The Novel By Jamila Gavin; Music by Adrian Sutton; Musical Director: Constantine Kitsopoulos; Additional Vocal Arrangements by Derek Barnes

Directed by Melly Still

Scenic Design by Ti Green and Melly Still; Costume Design by Ti Green and Melly Still; Original Lighting Design: Paule Constable; Original Sound Design: Christopher Shutt; Lighting Design Recreated By Ed McCarthy; Sound Design Recreated By Acme Sound Partners and Nevin Steinberg; U.S. Hair & Wig Design: David H. Lawrence; Associate Scenic Design: Paul Weimer and Ted LeFevre; Associate Costume Design: Scott Traugott; Associate Lighting Design: Pamela Kupper; U.K. Associate Lighting Designer: Nick Simmons; Associate Sound Design: Nick Borisjuk

General Manager: 101 Productions, Ltd.; Company Manager: Thom Clay

Technical Supervisor: Juniper Street Productions and David Benken; Production Stage Manager: Kim Vernace; Stage Manager: Paul J. Smith; Assistant Stage Mgr: Matthew Melchoirre

Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Principal Conductor: Constantine Kitsopoulos; Associate Conductor: Chip Prince; Keyboard: Constantine Kitsopoulos and Chip Prince; Violin: Dale Stuckenbruck and Elizabeth Lim-Dutton; Viola: Maxine Roach; Cello: Deborah Assael-Migliore; String Bass: Judith Sugarman; Synthesizer Programmer: Karl Mansfield; Music Prep Services: Anixter Rice Music Service

Casting: Stanczyk/Cherpakov Casting; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Marketing: HHC Marketing; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; U.S. Fight Director: Thomas Schall; Dialect Coach: Stephen Gabis; Coram Boy U.K. Dramaturg: Tom Morris; Original Fight Director: Alision De Burgh; Fight Captain: Eric William Morris; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Jolly AbrahamMolly
Uzo AdubaToby
Philip AndersonChoir
Jacqueline AntaramianMrs. Hendry
John ArboChoir
Sean AtteburyChoir
Renée BrnaChoir
Bill CampOtis Gardner
Philip Gaddarn
Charlotte CohnChoir
Sean CullenChoir
Dashiell EavesAdult Thomas Ledbury
Xanthe ElbrickYoung Alexander Ashbrook
Tom Riis FarrellThomas Claymore
Brad FleischerMeshak Gardiner
Katie GeissingerChoir
Karron GravesIsobel Ashbrook
Laura HeislerEdward Ashbrook
Zachary JamesChoir
Tinashe KajeseChoir
B.J. KarpenChoir
Katherine KeyesChoir
Evangelia KingsleyChoir
Angela LinMiss Price
David Andrew MacdonaldLord Ashbrook
Quentin MaréDr. Smith
Jan MaxwellMrs. Lynch
Kathleen McNennyMrs. Milcote
Cristin MiliotiAlice Ashbrook
Eric William MorrisChoir
Daniel NeerChoir
Nina NegriChoir
Charlotte ParryYoung Thomas Ledbury
Mark RehnstromChoir
Christina RounerLady Ashbrook
Martín SoláChoir
Samantha SouleChoir
Ivy VahanianMelissa
Alison WellerChoir
Wayne Alan WilcoxAdult Alexander Ashbrook
Gregory WrightChoir

Understudies: Renée Brna (Aaron, Edward Ashbrook, Young Alexander Ashbrook, Young Thomas Ledbury), Sean Cullen (Dr. Smith, Handel, Lord Ashbrook, Otis Gardner, Philip Gaddarn, Thomas Claymore), Tinashe Kajese (Miss Price, Molly, Toby), Eric William Morris (Adult Alexander Ashbrook, Adult Thomas Ledbury, Meshak Gardiner), Samantha Soule (Alice Ashbrook, Angel, Isobel Ashbrook, Melissa ) and Alison Weller (Lady Ashbrook, Mrs. Hendry, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Milcote)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2007 Best Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Xanthe Elbrick

 2007 Best Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Jan Maxwell

 2007 Best Direction of a Play [nominee] 

Melly Still

 2007 Best Scenic Design of a Play [nominee] 

Ti Green and Melly Still

 2007 Best Costume Design of a Play [nominee] 

Ti Green and Melly Still

 2007 Best Lighting Design of a Play [nominee] 

Paule Constable

Drama Desk Award

 2007 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Xanthe Elbrick

 2007 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Jan Maxwell

Theatre World

winner 2007 Award [recipient] 

Xanthe Elbrick


AP: "Melodrama still lives in 'Coram Boy'"

Melodrama may have gone out o fashion years ago, but director Melly Still brings it stirringly to life in "Coram Boy," an epic-sized tale that has received an epic-sized production at Broadway's Imperial Theatre.

Based on Still's acclaimed version done for two holiday seasons at London's National Theatre, this New York incarnation brims with an emotion-filled plot. Among its twists and turns: lost children, separated lovers, unrepentant villains, heinous crimes and the healing power of music, most prominently George Frederic Handel's "Messiah."

It's the theatrical equivalent of "a good read." Adapted by Helen Edmundson from the novel for young adults (meaning 12 and up) by Jamila Gavin, this sprawling, two-generational story is almost Dickensian in nature. There is a similarity to the Royal Shakespeare Company's legendary production of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby."

Yet "Coram Boy" is a journey all its own. Set in 18th century England, it grimly details the deeds of the evil Otis Gardiner, who deals in newborn, illegitimate children. For a fee, he takes them from their distraught, single mothers and promises to deliver them to the benevolent Coram Foundling Hospital. Instead, he and his mentally simple son, Meshak, bury them in the woods.

do not sugarcoat the more macabre aspects of their story, complete with shrieking mothers and the decaying remains of babies. This terrible tale alternates with the conflicts plaguing the aristocratic Ashbrook family and its eldest son, Alexander, disinherited because he wants to pursue a career in music and who also has a brief fling with the family's kindly governess before his banishment.

Of course, one child survives Gardiner's nefarious work and ends up at the hospital, where, in Act 2, he becomes a prize pupil of Handel's and is apprenticed to the outcast Alexander. You probably see where the plot is going, but then reconciliation, particularly of the family variety, is a major theme of "Coram Boy."

Heavenly choral music, by Handel and present-day composer Adrian Sutton, envelops the proceedings. Choir members are perched above the stage and look down on the turntable setting that suggests "Les Miserables" but without the barricades. There is some remarkable design work by Still and Ti Green. A drowning sequence near the end of the evening is stunning, with bodies seeming to float across the vast height of the Imperial stage.

"Coram Boy" is an ensemble piece, but several performances in the large cast stand out. Xanthe Elbrick does double duty, portraying young Alexander in the first act and then after intermission a Coram survivor of Gardiner's misdeeds. She has a sweet, pure voice - the young male choir members are played by actresses - that makes her portrayal of a boy whose singing voice has not yet cracked all the more credible.

Bill Camp is a fiercely unpleasant villain, yet he never descends into caricature, and Brad Fleischer brings a gentle quality to the man's doomed, damaged son, haunted by visions of a motherly angel, who sweeps into his dreams and onto the stage.

There is a dreamlike quality to Still's fluid, graceful staging. And like ali potent dreams, her vision - and that includes her overseeing of those celestial musical voices - remains vivid long after the tumultuous events depicted in "Coram Boy" are over.


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