American Airlines Theatre, (4/20/2014 - 8/10/2014)

First Preview: Mar 28, 2014
Opening Date: Apr 20, 2014
Closing Date: Aug 10, 2014
Total Previews: 27
Total Performances: 128

Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway
Comments: Premiered Off-Broadway in New York at Playwrights Horizons in 1997. Was considered a "Revival" for the purposes of the Tony nominations in 2014.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Sydney Beers, General Manager)

Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Sydney Beers, General Manager); Produced in association with Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, David Mirvish, Barry & Fran Weissler, Elizabeth Armstrong and Mary Jo and Ted Shen

Based on the concert production by New York City Center Encores! Off-Center

Book by Brian Crawley; Music by Jeanine Tesori; Lyrics by Brian Crawley; Based on "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts; Musical Director: Michael Rafter; Music orchestrated by Rick Bassett, Joseph Joubert and Buryl Red; Additional arrangement for "Raise Me Up" by Jason Michael Webb

Directed by Leigh Silverman; Choreographed by Jeffrey Page

Scenic Design by David Zinn; Costume Design by Clint Ramos; Lighting Design by Mark Barton; Sound Design by Leon Rothenberg; Hair and Wig Design by Charles G. LaPointe; Make-Up Design by Dave Bova; Associate Costume Design: Abigail Hahn; Associate Lighting Design: Tess James; Associate Sound Design: Danny Erdberg; Moving Light Programmer: Jay Penfield

"Violet" General Manager: Denise Cooper; Roundabout Associate Managing Director: Greg Backstrom; Company Manager: Carly DiFulvio Allen

Production Manager: Aurora Productions; Production Stage Manager: Kristen Harris; Stage Manager: Robert Witherow

Musical Coordinator: Seymour "Red" Press; Conducted by Michael Rafter; Associate Conductor: Jason Michael Webb; Synthesizer: Jason Michael Webb and Shawn Gough; Cello: Emily Brausa; Guitars: Sean Driscoll and Matt Hinkley; Bass: Leo Huppert; Drums: Sean McDaniel; Violin: Justin Smith; Synthesizer Programmer: Rick Bassett; Music Preparation: Emily Grishman Music Preparation/Katharine Edmonds/Emily Grishman

Roundabout Adams Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis; Dialect Coach: Kate Wilson; Dance Captain: Anastacia McCleskey; Founding Director: Gene Feist; Roundabout Director of Development: Lynne Gugenheim Gregory; Roundabout Director of Marketing & Audience Development: Tom O'Connor; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Interactive Marketing: Situation Interactive; Press Representative: Polk & Co.; Casting: Jim Carnahan, C.S.A., Carrie Gardner, C.S.A. and Stephen Kopel C.S.A.; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Sutton FosterViolet
Colin DonnellMonty
Alexander GemignaniFather
Joshua HenryFlick
Ben DavisPreacher
(Mar 28, 2014 - Jun 29, 2014)
Radio Singer
(Mar 28, 2014 - Jun 29, 2014)
Bus Driver 1
(Mar 28, 2014 - Jun 29, 2014)
Bus Driver 4
(Mar 28, 2014 - Jun 29, 2014)
Annie GoldenOld Lady
Hotel Hooker
Austin LeschVirgil
Billy Dean
Bus Driver 2
Radio Singer
Bus Passenger
Anastacia McCleskeyMusic Hall Singer
Bus Passenger
Charlie PollockLeroy Evans
Radio Soloist
Bus Driver 3
Bus Passenger
Emerson SteeleYoung Violet
Rema WebbLula Buffington
Bus Passenger

Swings: Jacob Keith Watson and Virginia Ann Woodruff

Standby: Haven Burton (Violet)

Understudies: Emma Howard (Young Violet), Austin Lesch (Monty), Azudi Onyejekwe (Flick) and Charlie Pollock (Bus Driver 1, Bus Driver 4, Father, Preacher, Radio Singer)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2014 Best Revival of a Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Sydney Beers, General Manager); Produced in association with Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, David Mirvish, Barry & Fran Weissler, Elizabeth Armstrong and Mary Jo and Ted Shen

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

Sutton Foster

 2014 Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Joshua Henry

 2014 Best Direction of a Musical [nominee] 

Leigh Silverman

Drama Desk Award

 2014 Outstanding Revival of a Musical or Revue [nominee] 

Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Sydney Beers, General Manager); Produced in association with Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, David Mirvish, Barry & Fran Weissler, Elizabeth Armstrong and Mary Jo and Ted Shen

 2014 Outstanding Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Sutton Foster

 2014 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Joshua Henry

Theatre World

winner 2014 Award [recipient] 

Emerson Steele


music by Jeanine Tesori; lyrics by Brian Crawley

Water in the WellViolet, Young Violet and Father
On My WayViolet and Company
Luck of the DrawFather, Young Violet, Violet, Monty and Flick
Question 'n AnswerMonty and Violet
All to PiecesViolet, Monty and Flick
Let It SingFlick
Anyone Would DoHotel Hooker
Who'll Be the One (If Not Me)Radio Trio
Last Time I Came to MemphisMonty and Violet
Lonely StrangerMusic Hall Singer
Lay Down Your HeadViolet
Anyone Would Do (Reprise) Music Hall Singer, Almeta and Hotel Hooker
Hard to Say GoodbyeViolet and Flick
Promise Me, VioletViolet, Monty and Flick
Raise Me UpPreacher, Lula Buffington and Choir
Down the MountainViolet, Young Violet, Father and Virgil
Look at MeViolet
That's What I Could DoFather
Surprised (Reprise) Violet
Promise Me, Violet (Reprise) Flick and Violet
Bring Me to LightCompany


AP: "B'way's 'Violet' Shows Beauty in Its Score"

Some musicals are big and brassy, calling out for attention with their razzle-dazzle and sassy sets. Others are more demure, letting their simple beauty shine. How appropriate then that a show about inner loveliness chose the latter path.

"Violet," which opened Sunday at the American Airlines Theatre, makes a Broadway debut with just a few chairs, a simple bed, no big costume changes and a score so rich and sublime that you'll hardly notice anything is missing.

Sutton Foster stars as a young North Carolina woman in 1964, learning to let go of the scars of childhood in a story based on "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts. Accidentally maimed by her father as a teenager in an ax mishap, Violet years later goes on a cross-country bus trip hoping to have her damaged face healed by a televangelist.

It features music by Jeanine Tesori — the powerful force behind "Caroline, or Change" and "Fun Home" — and a book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. "Violet" was Tesori's first musical and it was mounted off-Broadway in 1997, becoming a bit of a cult hit. A concert version last year generated so much excitement that it has arrived on Broadway, with much of its stripped-down spirit still in its DNA.

"Violet" is a reminder — if we have already forgotten the power of "Once" — that a Broadway musical has to hit your heart as much as be visually pretty. A recent preview of "Violet" left some in the audience crying and smiling. And that's with a show that has actors simply bumping up and down on chairs to recreate a bus trip.

Tesori shows an astonishing range, from honky-tonk to gospel to classic Broadway showstoppers. Some of the standouts are the rousing "On My Way" and the tricky overlapping triangle of voices in "Promise Me, Violet." Tesori's melodies sometimes return to overlap with a new song, creating a beautiful tapestry. As in "Fun Home," her music seems to encourage ghosts — both sonic and narrative — to reappear.

Crawley's story is a little rushed, and while at times it sometimes seems to be veering into maudlin, he pulls out before danger. His Violet is a sharp-tongued, defensive woman who hides behind cynicism but seems to believe in miracles. Crawley may make you laugh when he has Violet dreaming up her new face by using movie star features: "Put Grace Kelly's little nose/With Rita Hayworth's skin/But Ava Gardner for the eyebrows."

A foot-stomping gospel number, "Raise Me Up," goes on a tad bit too long and seems ill-fitting, while the central love triangle resolves itself a little too conveniently. But these are mere tiny disfigurements to a show that deserves our full admiration.

Director Leigh Silverman has a sensitive, genuine touch and nicely navigates tough scenes when the staging gets complicated by multiple voices. (A poker scene in which young Violet and her dad harmonize with the adult Violet at another card table is pretty nifty.)

Of course, it helps when you've got someone like Foster, a natural triple-threat who this time doesn't dance at all. She has burrowed into the character so much that you can feel her flinch from unwanted attention. And when she digs even deeper for notes, she lets them soar like birds. (The creative team has avoided any makeup or mask to illustrate Violet's scar, a testament to Foster's acting ability.)

As great as Foster is, she has the good fortune of being the object of seduction from two of Broadway's hunkiest singers — her "Anything Goes" co-star Colin Donnell and "The Scottsboro Boys" star Joshua Henry, who proves once again to be one of the sweetest, strongest singers around. His "Let It Sing" is a true highlight.

It's not too hard to figure out that a show about a woman who thinks she's repulsive will ultimately deal with issues of beauty and the nature of love. It does, but it also explores guilt and belief, proving there's a lot you can do when you have great songs, wonderful singers and keep it simple.


New York Daily News: "Violet"

Early in the exhilarating musical “Violet,” a backwoods young woman totes a tattered suitcase onto a bus.

It’s 1964. Her face is savagely mangled by a freak accident. Violet (Sutton Foster) is taking a last-ditch leap of faith and going on a journey to be healed.

She sings, “I am on my way.”

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. So are you. And what a wonderful trip it is.

When a show works it tugs you insistently into its universe. This production, based on a 2013 one-night Encores! performance, purrs from start to finish.

Director Leigh Silverman’s smart and lean staging for the Roundabout modifies that evening a bit. There’s a small onstage orchestra, chairs sit in for bus seats and a hidden trundle bed and vacancy sign lets us know the story has checked into a hotel.

Your imagination can fill in details — as it does for envisioning Violet’s scar. There’s no visible mark.

Songs by composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist Brian Crawley add dimensions and textures, too. Summoning country-fried rhythms, gospel glory, bittersweet ballads and tender lullabies, the score is a rich and beautiful thing. Well-integrated too. Numbers make perfect sense and fuel characters and the plot like high-test gasoline.

Crawley’s book, based on Doris Betts’ story “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” is an asset as well. Violet isn’t naive or dumb or a shrinking you-know-what — just the opposite. She meets two soldiers — Monty (Colin Donnell) and Flick (Joshua Henry) — who affect her in ways we don’t see coming. It adds up to a full-blooded portrait of life and its cruelty, humanity and humor.

The three stars are at the top of their game. Two-time Tony winner Foster brings grit and grace. Donnell nails the pretty boy who’s deeper than he appears. And Henry delivers one of the season’s most joyful jolts with the thrilling number “Let It Sing.”

A feisty Emerson Steele as a young Violet lends fine support, as do the gruff but gentle Alexander Gemignani as her dad and the unique and appealing Annie Golden as a fellow traveler.

This journey unfolds a half-century ago, but you don’t have to look far to see that the idea that life can change dramatically and devastatingly in a flash. What you do next becomes the question — and it makes this “Violet” evergreen.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

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

American Airlines Theatre

(4/20/2014 - 8/10/2014)


Levi Kreis
Bus Driver 1 (Jul 1, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014)
Bus Driver 4 (Jul 1, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014)
Preacher (Jul 1, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014)
Radio Singer (Jul 1, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014)

Understudies: Jennifer Blood (Hotel Hooker, Old Lady, Violet).

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