Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, (2/20/2014 - 5/18/2014)

First Preview: Jan 17, 2014
Opening Date: Feb 20, 2014
Closing Date: May 18, 2014
Total Previews: 37
Total Performances: 100

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway
Setting: Four days in 1965 and the following years. Winterset, Iowa.

Opening Night Production Staff

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

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Stacey Mindich, Jerry Frankel, Gutterman Chernoff, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Carl Daikeler, Michael DeSantis, Aaron Priest, Libby Adler Mages/Mari Glick Stuart, Scott M. Delman, Independent Presenters Network, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Caiola Productions, Remmel T. Dickinson, Ken Greiner, David Lancaster, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Will Trice, Warner Bros.Theatre Ventures, Inc. and The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President); Produced in association with The Williamstown Theatre Festival (Stephen M. Kaus, Producer; Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director Emeritus); Associate Producer: Steven Strauss, Michael Crea and PJ Miller

World premiere production presented in August 2013 by The Williamstown Theatre Festival (Stephen M. Kaus, Producer; Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director Emeritus)

Book by Marsha Norman; Music by Jason Robert Brown; Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown; Based on the novel by Robert James Waller; Music orchestrated by Jason Robert Brown; Musical Director: Tom Murray

Directed by Bartlett Sher; Movement by Danny Mefford

Scenic Design by Michael Yeargan; Costume Design by Catherine Zuber; Lighting Design by Donald Holder; Sound Design by Jon Weston; Hair and Wig Design by David Brian Brown; Make-Up Design by Ashley Ryan; Associate Scenic Design: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams; Associate Lighting Design: Mike Jones; Associate Sound Design: Jason Strangfeld; Automated Lighting Programmer: Marc Polimeni

General Manager: 101 Productions, Ltd.; Company Manager: Katrina Elliott

Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Associates; Production Stage Manager: Jennifer Rae Moore; Stage Manager: Lisa Ann Chernoff

Musical Coordinator: Michael Keller; Conducted by Tom Murray; Associate Conductor: Andrew Resnick; Concert Master: Paul Woodiel; Violin: Katherine Livolsi-Landau; Violin/Viola: Erin Benim and Kiku Enomoto; Cello: Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf; Guitars: Justin Goldner and Gary Sieger; Bass: Randy Landau; Piano: Andrew Resnick; Drums/Percussion: Benny Koonyevsky; Music Preparation: Blane Music Preparation

Props by Kathy Fabian

Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht; Dance Captain: Tim Wright; Casting: Telsey + Company and Abbie Brady-Dalton, CSA; Advertising: Serino Coyne; Press Representative: Irene Gandy, Alana Karpoff, Thomas Raynor and Christopher Pineda; Marketing: Serino Coyne; Digital & Interactive: Situation Interactive; Interactive Marketing Services: Broadway's Best Shows and Andy Drachenberg; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Kelli O'HaraFrancesca
Steven PasqualeRobert
Whitney BashorMarian/Chiara
Hunter FosterBud
Caitlin KinnunenCarolyn
Derek KlenaMichael
Michael X. MartinCharlie
Cass MorganMarge
Ephie AardemaEnsemble
Jennifer AllenEnsemble
Katie KlausEnsemble
State Fair Singer
Luke MarinkovichEnsemble
Paolo
Aaron RameyEnsemble
Dan SharkeyEnsemble

Swings: Charlie Franklin, Jessica Vosk and Tim Wright

Standby: Kevin Kern (Robert) and Elena Shaddow (Francesca)

Understudies: Ephie Aardema (Carolyn), Jennifer Allen (Marge), Whitney Bashor (Francesca), Charlie Franklin (Michael), Kevin Kern (Bud), Katie Klaus (Marge, Marian/Chiara), Luke Marinkovich (Michael), Aaron Ramey (Robert), Dan Sharkey (Bud, Charlie), Jessica Vosk (Carolyn, Marian/Chiara) and Tim Wright (Charlie)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

winner 2014 Best Original Score Written for the Theatre [winner] 

Music by Jason Robert Brown; Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown

 2014 Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Kelli O'Hara

winner 2014 Best Orchestrations [winner] 

Jason Robert Brown

 2014 Best Lighting Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Donald Holder

Drama Desk Award

 2014 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Stacey Mindich, Jerry Frankel, Gutterman Chernoff, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Carl Daikeler, Michael DeSantis, Aaron Priest, Libby Adler Mages/Mari Glick Stuart, Scott M. Delman, Independent Presenters Network, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Caiola Productions, Remmel T. Dickinson, Ken Greiner, David Lancaster, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Will Trice, Warner Bros.Theatre Ventures, Inc. and The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President); Produced in association with The Williamstown Theatre Festival (Stephen M. Kaus, Producer; Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director Emeritus)

 2014 Outstanding Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Marsha Norman

 2014 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Steven Pasquale

 2014 Outstanding Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Kelli O'Hara

winner 2014 Outstanding Orchestrations [winner] 

Jason Robert Brown

 2014 Outstanding Lyrics [nominee] 

Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown

 2014 Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical [nominee] 

Sound Design by Jon Weston

winner 2014 Outstanding Music [winner] 

Music by Jason Robert Brown

 2014 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Bartlett Sher

Songs

ACT 1 Sung By
To Build a HomeFrancesca and Company
Home Before You Know ItBud, Michael, Carolyn and Francesca
Temporarily LostRobert
What Do You Call a Man?Francesca
You're Never AloneBud and Company
Another LifeMarian/Chiara
WonderingRobert and Francesca
Look At MeFrancesca, Robert and Company
The World Inside a FrameRobert
Something From a DreamBud
Get CloserMarge and Radio Singers
Falling Into YouRobert and Francesca
ACT 2 Sung By
State Road 21/The Real WorldBand Singer, Michael, Carolyn and Company
Who We Are and Who We Want to BeRobert, Francesca and Company
Almost RealFrancesca
Before and After You/One Second & a Million MilesRobert and Francesca
When I'm GoneCharlie, Bud and Company
It All Fades AwayRobert
Always BetterFrancesca, Robert and Company

Reviews


AP: "Score soars in 'Bridges of Madison County'"

The Iowa featured in the new musical "The Bridges of Madison County" is flat indeed but, oh boy, the voices soar.

Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale come just short of blowing the roof off the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in this touching doomed romance that features a superb, thrilling score by Jason Robert Brown.

Brown, the talented composer behind "13," ''The Last Five Years" and "Parade," has never had a real New York hit. This should be it.

The musical, which opened Thursday, is based on the Robert James Waller novel, which was made into a 1995 movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. For this one, the movie stars have given way to some Broadway veterans.

It's about a four-day love affair in 1965 between Robert Kincaid, a world-weary photographer on assignment to shoot a series of covered bridges, and Francesca, an Italian-American housewife who was rescued from bombed-out Naples by a U.S. serviceman, who became her husband, but lives without real passion.

A sometimes bloated and meandering book by Marsha Norman and some odd choices by director Bartlett Sher can't take anything away from a score that brilliantly goes from torch song to blues and honky-tonk to virtual opera, led by two actors with genuine feeling and a seemingly endless reservoir of notes.

There's a neat, breezy set that's heavy on fences by Michael Yeargan — a simple triangle stands in for a rooftop and there's a terrific tree — but it may leave purists aghast that there are no covered bridges, only nesting rectangles. Relax, you'll get over it.

An adulterous affair isn't the normal stuff of musicals but the audience immediately buys into O'Hara's sense of an unfulfilled life and her flowering under the touch of Pasquale's hunkiness. The fact that Francesca's husband (the always-reliable Hunter Foster) doesn't come across as particularly evil is nicely done. But a messy and confrontational side plot about the kids "growing up" at the county fair — and conveniently leaving Francesca home alone during the affair — doesn't add much.

The play has some other weird elements, in particular, neighbors and minor characters sit onstage during much of the show, including the most intimate moments. At the top of Act 2, the new lovers are suddenly revealed in their post-coital bed in a scene marred somewhat by a guy on the side strumming a guitar.

It may be a nod to small-town distrust of outsiders, but seems to poorly mimic "Once," the neighboring musical also about a missed love connection. It might have been better to play with the use of people occupying the same stage as memories, as is done when Kincaid's ex-wife wordlessly enters Francesca's kitchen like a ghost and then sings a stunning song about their marriage, "Another Life."

Once the real lovers do connect — Act 1 drags a little with their idle chitchat ("Was I supposed to get kale?" he asks) — we're off to a terrific Act 2 with a string of musical pearls in the break-out hit duet "One Second & A Million Miles" and a smartly staged "When I'm Gone."

Pasquale then smashes the sound barrier with his "It All Fades Away" and the company finishes with a triumphant "Always Better," led by a brilliant O'Hara, giving it her all. These are such convincing, yearning lovers that the first few rows might feel residual heat.

Yes, Francesca's Italian accent sometimes veers into Transylvania, her kids look more likely to be Ph.D. candidates than teens, and a neighbor's arc from nosy troublemaker to ally isn't very smooth, but the sophisticated, sumptuous score is cause for celebration.

"Iowa is so flat, you feel like the only way out is to blast straight up like a rocket," Francesca tells her lover. And so the pair do, thrillingly.


AP
02/21/2014

New York Daily News: "The Bridges of Madison County"

Robert James Waller’s 1992 romantic best-seller “The Bridges of Madison County” and the Meryl Streep-Clint Eastwood movie it spawned struck many as sappy — but Broadway’s lush musical version is grown-up and plain old-fashioned beautiful.

The stage adaptation by Jason Robert Brown (“Parade”) and Marsha Norman (“’night Mother”) is a familiar, yet stylish tale that earns its tears. And it’s never sappy.

The focus, from the get-go, is Francesca Johnson (Kelli O’Hara, a four-time Tony nominee). In the aria-like opening solo, she recalls her journey from postwar Italy to the middle of Iowa. Flash forward to 1965, and she’s wife and mother questioning where life has taken her.

When her husband Bud (Hunter Foster) and teenaged kids Michael (Derek Klena) and Carolyn (Caitlin Kinnunen) leave home with a prize cow for the state fair, Francesca welcomes solitude and a chance to “read seed catalogs.”

But National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Steven Pasquale) proves far more interesting than Burpee beets and radishes.

Kincaid needs directions to one of the titular covered spans — and the pair’s small talk quickly turns into big pulse-quickening passions during a four-day affair.

In this way, Francesca is a distant cousin of the love-deprived Lizzie Curry of “110 in the Shade,” whose fling with a sexy stranger compels her to consider a life far from her humdrum one. Both women — and the men — are forever marked by their experiences.

The musical “Bridges” widens the scope of the book and movie and invents a couple of Johnson’s neighbors — salt-of-the-earth Charlie (Michael X. Martin) and nosy-but-protective Marge (Cass Morgan) — and an omnipresent farm community devoted to its own. If Francesca’s going to stay, there’s comfort knowing she’s in a good place.

Director Bartlett Sher, who helmed “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza” with O’Hara, underscores the communal idea in his airy staging in which past and present sometimes merge as characters hawk-eye the action from seats flanking the stage. In a terrific time-blurring scene, Robert’s ex-wife, Marian (Whitney Bashor), sings of her marriage-gone-wrong as Kincaid draws close to Francesca.

The beating heart of the show is Brown’s score. It’s richly melodic and rhythmic — and one of Broadway’s best in the last decade. Brown’s stirring orchestrations — strings, piano and percussion — provide perfect settings for his musical gems.

Norman’s book coaxes warmth and authenticity from the central love story. She’s less successful in family and neighbor subplots meant to provide contrast to the romance. These characterizations push the comic relief to the point where they’re jarring.

The equilibrium and mood return when the lovers are center stage. The Irish O’Hara evokes Naples with a dark wig and a convincing Italian accent. She gives a performance of rare and radiant grace. Pasquale, who starred with O’Hara last year Off-Broadway in the misfire “Far From Heaven,” has the rugged good looks made for the part. He matches her moment by moment with his virile vocals.

Like the story’s brief but enduring romance, “Bridges of Madison County” and its blissfully beautiful score and shimmering star turns stay with you well after the last lovely notes fade. 


New York Daily News
02/20/2014

Replacement/Transfer Info


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


Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

(2/20/2014 - 5/18/2014)

Cast

Jennifer Allen
Ginny


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