Al Hirschfeld Theatre, (9/18/2008 - 11/09/2008)

First Preview: Aug 19, 2008
Opening Date: Sep 18, 2008
Closing Date: Nov 09, 2008
Total Previews: 33
Total Performances: 60

Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway
Setting: Paris and London during the late eighteenth century

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Jujamcyn Theaters (Rocco Landesman: President; Paul Libin: Producing Director; Jack Viertel: Creative Director; Jordan Roth: Vice President)

Produced by Barbra Russell, Ron Sharpe, Bernard Brogan, Sharon A. Fordham, Theater Associates-David Sonnenberg/Rami Evar, The Monagle Group, Joseph J. Grano, Fanok Entertainment, Mary Laminack, Nancy Audet, Paul Audet, Jim Barry, Gasperino Entertainment, Vincent Russell, William Broderick and Alex Santoriello; Produced in association with David Bryant, Spencer S. Brody and Harry Casey

World Premiere produced by Asolo Repertory Theatre; Originally directed by Michael Donald Edwards

Book by Jill Santoriello; Music by Jill Santoriello; Lyrics by Jill Santoriello; Based on the novel "A Tale Of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens; Music orchestrated by Edward B. Kessel; Music arranged by Edward B. Kessel; Additional arrangements by Bob Krogstad, Wendy Bobbitt Cavett and Kevin Stites; Musical Director: Kevin Stites

Directed by Warren Carlyle; Choreographed by Warren Carlyle; Associate Choreographer: Parker Esse; Assistant Director: Michael Arden

Scenic Design by Tony Walton; Costume Design by David Zinn; Lighting Design by Richard Pilbrow; Sound Design by Carl Casella and Domonic Sack; Hair Design by Tom Watson; Special Effects Design by Gregory Meeh; Associate Scenic Design: Heather Wolensky; Associate Costume Design: Jacob A. Climer; Associate Lighting Design: Michael Gottlieb; Associate Sound Design: Wallace Flores

Executive Producer: Ron Sharpe and Barbra Russell; General Manager: Town Square Productions, Inc; Company Manager: Robert Nolan; Assistant Co. Mgr: Austin Nathaniel

Production Supervisor: Christopher C. Smith; Production Stage Manager: Kim Vernace; Stage Manager: Paul J. Smith; Assistant Stage Mgr: Jason A. Quinn and Megan J. Schneid

Conducted by Kevin Stites; Associate Conductor: Paul Raiman; Assistant Conductor: Nicholas Archer; Violin: Martin Agee and Conrad Harris; Viola: Debra Shufelt-Dine; Cello: Laura Bontrager; Bass: Dave Phillips; Flute/Piccolo: Judith Mendenhall; Oboe/English Horn: Matthew Dine; Clarinet/Bass Clarinet/Bassoon: Mark Thrasher; Trumpet: Timothy Schadt and Terry Szor; French Horn: Anthony Cecere and William DeVos; Tenor Trombone/Bass Trombone/Tuba: Chris Olness; Drums/Percussion: James Musto III; Timpani/Percussion: Kory Grossman; Synthesizer: Nicholas Archer and Paul Raiman; Musical Coordinator: James Neglia; Musical Supervisor: Kevin Stites

Casting: Barry Moss and Bob Kale; Press Representative: The Jacksina Company; Promotions: Margery Singer Company; Vocal Coach: Deborah Hecht; Advertising: Serino Coyne, Inc.; Marketing: Sharon A. Fordham

[See More]

Opening Night Cast

James BarbourSydney Carton
Craig BennettJerry Cruncher
Brandi BurkhardtLucie Manette
Kevin EarleyErnest Defarge
Gregg EdelmanDr. Alexandre Manette
Michael Hayward-JonesMr. Jarvis Lorry
Miles KathLittle Gaspard
Aaron LazarCharles Darnay
Katherine McGrathMiss Pross
Les MinskiMarquis St. Evremonde
Catherine MissalLittle Lucie
Natalie ToroMadame Therese Defarge
Nick WymanJohn Barsad
Drew AberThe Young Man
Catherine BrunellEnsemble
Alison CimmetEnsemble
William Thomas EvansAttorney General
Kevin GreeneGabelle
Michael HallingGaspard
Tim HartmanA Crony
Fred InkleyStryver
Georgi JamesEnsemble
Jay LusteckTurnkey
Mackenzie MauzySeamstress
Raymond Jaramillo McLeodFrench President
James MoyeEnglish Judge
Walter Winston ONeilEnsemble
A Crony
Dan PetrottaEnsemble
Devin RichardsNumber Keeper
Rob RichardsonEnsemble
Rebecca RobbinsEnsemble
Jennifer SmithEnsemble
Anne TolpeginEnsemble
Mollie Vogt-Welch Ensemble
Alison WallaEnsemble

Swings: Jennifer Evans, Randy Glass and Eric Van Tielen

Understudies: Catherine Brunell (Lucie Manette), William Thomas Evans (Mr. Jarvis Lorry), Randy Glass (Dr. Alexandre Manette, Marquis St. Evremonde), Michael Halling (Charles Darnay), Tim Hartman (John Barsad, Mr. Jarvis Lorry), Fred Inkley (Dr. Alexandre Manette, Jerry Cruncher, John Barsad), Georgi James (Little Gaspard, Little Lucie), Jay Lusteck (Ernest Defarge, Jerry Cruncher), James Moye (Ernest Defarge, Marquis St. Evremonde, Sydney Carton), Rob Richardson (Sydney Carton), Rebecca Robbins (Lucie Manette, Madame Therese Defarge), Jennifer Smith (Miss Pross), Anne Tolpegin (Madame Therese Defarge, Miss Pross) and Eric Van Tielen (Charles Darnay)

Awards and Nominations

Drama Desk Award

 2009 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

James Barbour

 2009 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

Edward B. Kessel

 2009 Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical [nominee] 

Richard Pilbrow


music by Jill Santoriello; lyrics by Jill Santoriello

ACT 1 Sung By
Prologue: The Shadows of the NightDr. Alexandre Manette and Lucie Manette
The Way It Ought to BeMadame Therese Defarge, Ernest Defarge and Ensemble
You'll Never Be AloneDr. Alexandre Manette and Lucie Manette
ArgumentMarquis St. Evremonde and Charles Darnay
DoverMiss Pross, Jerry Cruncher and Sailors
The Way It Ought to BeSydney Carton
No Honest WayJohn Barsad, Jerry Cruncher, Sydney Carton and Scoundrels
The TrialAttorney General, Stryver, Jerry Cruncher, John Barsad, Sydney Carton and Ensemble
Round and RoundTavern Folk
ReflectionSydney Carton
The Way It Ought to Be (Reprise) Madame Therese Defarge
Letter From UncleMarquis St. Evremonde
The PromiseDr. Alexandre Manette and Charles Darnay
I Can't RecallSydney Carton
Resurrection ManJerry Cruncher and Cronies
Now at LastCharles Darnay and Lucie Manette
If Dreams Came TrueCharles Darnay and Sydney Carton
Out of Sight, Out of MindMadame Therese Defarge
I Always KnewGabelle and Charles Darnay
Little OneGaspard, Little Lucie, Sydney Carton, Ernest Defarge and Men
Until TomorrowErnest Defarge, Madame Therese Defarge, Sydney Carton and Ensemble
ACT 2 Sung By
Everything Stays the SameMadame Therese Defarge, Ernest Defarge and Ensemble
No Honest Way (Reprise) John Barsad
The TaleMadame Therese Defarge, Dr. Alexandre Manette, The Young Man, Marquis St. Evremonde and Ensemble
If Dreams Came True (Reprise) Sydney Carton
Without a WordCharles Darnay and Lucie Manette
The BluffSydney Carton and John Barsad
Let Her Be a ChildSydney Carton, Little Lucie and Charles Darnay
The LetterSydney Carton
LamentErnest Defarge
Finale: I Can't RecallSeamstress, Sydney Carton and Ensemble


AP: "A plodding musical version of 'A Tale of Two Cities' arrives on Broadway"

Haven't we been here before? And in much better crafted company?

The ghosts of musicals past are floating through Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre these days, crowding the stage where a plodding, perfunctory adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" has taken up residence.

The production, which opened Thursday, is a curious throwback, a return to the era of big British blockbusters such as "Les Miserables," ''The Phantom of the Opera" and "Miss Saigon" and their lesser American imitators, including "Jekyll & Hyde" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel." All of them — with varying degrees of success — are awash in sound and fury.

"Les Miz," of course, is the most obvious comparison. It, too, deals with Gallic revolution — although a different one from the turmoil that preoccupies Dickens' lengthy novel, which is set against the backdrop of France's Reign of Terror.

Broadway newcomer Jill Santoriello has provided not only the music but the book and lyrics for "A Tale of Two Cities." It's a heroic job of multitasking but her efforts stretch the show mighty thin — particularly in the music department, where faint echoes of "Les Miz" (by way of "American Idol") reverberate every now and then. These similarities are most noticeable in the show's spirited first-act finale which has the downtrodden citizens, ready for blood, lined up across the wide Hirschfeld stage.

Dickens' story is packed with plot, and Santoriello's condensation is necessarily sketchy. Which means the score has to provide the emotional wallop only hinted at in her book. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Despite the bombast, the melodies are wispy, almost anemic and the lyrics elemental and predictable. They will have you involuntarily completing the rhyme — and being right every time.

The paucity of strong songs puts an extra burden on the actors, but they ably meet the challenge. Chief among these performers is James Barbour, who portrays the dissolute Sidney Carton, the show's late-blooming hero.

Barbour has one of those industrial-strength voices, perfectly suited for the kind of full-voiced pyrotechnics that are necessary for larger-than-life shows.

Barbour also possesses considerable stage presence, and he nicely accentuates his character's self-mockery. Humor is scarce in Santoriello's adaptation, confined mostly to lowlife characters and servants.

The genius of Dickens' novels comes from his specific characterizations, vivid portraits of people, good or bad, who are very real. His characters have been captured most effectively in the stage version of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby," codirected, by the way, by Trevor Nunn, the man who also co-directed "Les Miserables."

In "Two Cities," Santoriello's creations are practically ciphers. She concentrates on the story's love triangle — Carton's unrequited love for the beautiful Lucie Manette who, in turns, marries the impossibly good Charles Darnay. Brandi Burkhardt plays the dewy ingenue while Aaron Lazar grimaces nobly as Darnay.

Her villains are cardboard creatures, too. Madame Defarge, that vengeful knitter who demands Darnay's death, doesn't get beyond snarling in stereotype. But then Natalie Toro, who plays Defarge, is saddled with one of the evening's worst songs, the modern-sounding "Out of Sight, Out of Mind."

Warren Carlyle, responsible for the show's direction as well as its minimal choreography, moves things along at a relentless pace. But the effect is wearying rather than exhilarating.

Even the sets are a letdown. If "Les Miz" has designer John Napier's gargantuan barricades and "Phantom of the Opera" was enhanced by Maria Bjornson's massive Paris Opera House set, "A Tale of Two Cities" is stuck with Tony Walton's spindly towers that look as if they are made of plywood, swirling in and out of the wings.

They are emblematic of what is wrong with the show, a pale imitation of all those big booming musicals that have gone before.


Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Al Hirschfeld Theatre

(9/18/2008 - 11/9/2008)
Understudies: Randy Glass (A Crony, English Judge, Gaspard, Turnkey), Raymond Jaramillo McLeod (Attorney General, Stryver), Dan Petrotta (Gabelle, The Young Man), Rob Richardson (French President), Eric Van Tielen (A Crony, Gabelle, Number Keeper), Alison Walla (Seamstress).

View full site