Posted by LimelightMike 2012-11-15 03:35:35
Today is Thursday, November 15, marking the official opening night of Giant, a new musical by Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson based on Edna Ferber's 1952 novel Giant, capturing a moment in American history as the landscape of Texas changed from open cattle country to a skyline studded with oil derricks. Under the astute direction of Michael Greif, Giant has music and lyrics by LaChiusa and a book by Tony nominee Pearson. Previews began October 26. The production is currently scheduled to play through December 2.
The musical, which features a 17-member orchestra, is based on Ferber's novel but is best known for its iconic 1956 film version that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. Giant had its world premiere at the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, VA, in 2009, where it clocked in at four hours. The writers have continued to refine the production, paring the running time down for New York.
Giant's central love triangle features Kate Baldwin, as Leslie, Brian d'Arcy James as wealthy Texas cattle man Bick and P.J. Griffith as young oil tycoon Jett. Baldwin and Griffith originated their respective roles in the DTC production.
Much of the original DTC cast reunites for the Off-Broadway production, with the addition of Tony Award winner Michele Pawk as Luz, MacKenzie Mauzy as Lil Luz, Tony nominee Bobby Steggert as Jordy Jr./Jordy Sr. and Jon Fletcher as Bobby Jr./Bobby Sr.
The cast is completed by Enrique Acevedo as ensemble; Raul Aranas as Polo; Mary Bacon as Adarene and Mrs. Lyntonn; Miguel Cervantes as Angel, Jr. and Angel, Sr.; Natalie Cortez as Juana; Rocio Del Mar Valles as Analita; Tony nominee John Dossett as Bawley; Michael Halling as Lord Kafrey; Doreen Montalvo as Lupe; Allison Rogers as Heidi; Isabel Santiago as ensemble; Martin Sola as Dimodeo; Matthew Stocke as Mike; Katie Thompson as Vashti; and William Youmans as Pinkie.
According to the Public, "Giant is a new American musical that spans generations in an epic chronicle of the state thats like no place else on earth: Texas. Amid a turbulent culture of greed, bigotry and money, a powerful cattleman, his new East Coast bride, their family and friends not to mention their enemies embrace and confront the joys and sorrows that loom as large as the state they call home."
Posted by devonian.t 2012-11-15 06:43:21
Good luck to all involved. I hope this is a great success.
Posted by newintown 2012-11-15 09:20:26
I'm no clairvoyant, but I predict mixed yet respectful notices, after which the piece will fade into relative obscurity joining the rest of the LaChiusa oeuvre. Future stock and amateur productions are unlikely due to the expensive large forces required and the technical difficulty that always comes with LaChiusa's work, as he seems to be somewhat unconcerned with learning the limitations of the human voice. (When Kate Baldwin starts cracking before Act I is near its end, then the composer has done something wrong.)
Posted by GilmoreGirlO2 2012-11-15 16:24:55
What are the chances this might extend another couple of weeks? Coming to the city Dec. 14th - 17th and hoping that this or "Murder Ballad" might extend a couple of weeks.
Posted by Kad 2012-11-15 20:33:15
If it gets good reviews, expect an extension of at least a week.
Posted by broadwayman17 2012-11-15 21:43:09
"In the end, though, it is the story and its epic but human sweep that will draw you in. As in Ferber's novel, LaChiusa touches on themes that are both universal (the conflict between fathers and sons, the inevitability of death and loss) and particular (anti-Latino bigotry, Texas' transition from ranching to an oil-based economy)."
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-15 22:10:03
The Times seems mixed, with a lot of positive comments along the way.
Posted by jv92 2012-11-15 22:18:58
Quite mixed, but admiring.
Posted by NewYorkTheater 2012-11-15 23:24:29
there is something too pat and too packed about the pile-up of themes and subplots. There is a subplot tackling prejudice against Mexican-Americans. Leslie is against it, which is nice. It is odd, though, that in Texas from 1925 to 1952, there is not a single black person, which is remarkably convenient.
Whats strongest about Giant the musical is not its sweep, not its stars, but its sidelights. There are small scenes that are breathtaking; minor characters who are inspiring.
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-16 01:11:28
The Post is mixed with two and a half stars:
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-16 01:19:03
NY Daily News is positive with four stars: http://tinyurl.com/csl27kj
The Wall Street Journal is a rave: http://tinyurl.com/cc8k2da
Bloomberg BusinessWeek gives it three and a half stars, and is mixed to positive: http://tinyurl.com/bneaqh8
TimeOut NY is mixed with three stars: http://tinyurl.com/d59j6wp
Washington Post is positive: http://tinyurl.com/cycv795
Backstage is very positive: http://tinyurl.com/csefp5a
Talkin' Broadway is mostly negative: http://tinyurl.com/bunw99r
TheaterMania is a rave: http://tinyurl.com/cf343w8
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-16 11:20:25
Considering these reviews seem to lean heavily to the side of positive, what are the chances of this getting a Broadway transfer?
Posted by newintown 2012-11-16 11:24:18
The Public has already landed in hot water and made important staff changes due to spending too much on unsuccessful Broadway transfers; given how expensive this one would be, it would be an incredibly foolish decision for them to to attempt to move this to a commercial venue, where it would fold quickly and lose millions.
And after those extensive (and coldly institutional) renovations, they can't have much in the way of cash reserves at this time.
Posted by Kad 2012-11-16 11:53:44
Also, the show hasn't been a smash hit thus far downtown.
Posted by jv92 2012-11-16 12:17:30
I do think, however, this show deserves a recording. Does anyone agree? It's a great score.
Posted by newintown 2012-11-16 12:18:17
With allllll that music, it would have to be at least 2 discs; who would foot that bill?
Posted by jv92 2012-11-16 12:19:31
I don't know, but I think they'd be wise to invest in a cast album, rather than a transfer.
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-16 12:42:16
Maybe Kathie Lee can finance a cast album.
Posted by Kad 2012-11-16 13:01:04
I'm sure Ghostlight will find a way.
Posted by jv92 2012-11-16 13:07:12
Or PS Classics. I think both have a relationship with LaChiusa.
Posted by Mildred Plotka 2012-11-16 13:08:45
Though I had mixed feelings about the show itself, I do hope it's recorded. LaChiusa's score is beautiful, and I want to hear it again.
Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-11-16 13:27:32
Wonder if LCT would consider it, or are the Public and LCT kind of "rivals"?
Posted by dreaming 2012-11-16 14:22:54
I wonder if they could re-tool it and add star casting in some roles to move it?
Posted by Kad 2012-11-16 14:36:08
I'm not sure what the precedent is for shows moving between non-profits.
Posted by Holster2 2012-11-16 16:02:06
"I wonder if they could re-tool it and add star casting in some roles to move it?"
Star casting for which role(s)? I could see them maybe replacing Brian D'Arcy James, Michele Pawk, and Mackenzie Mauzy since all three of them were new to this production. Kate Baldwin isn't going anywhere though at this point. She was terrific when I saw it, has gotten some wonderful reviews, and the creative team obviously loves her to keep her around - plus I've heard she's a dream to work with. The only other new actor to this production that I can think of is Bobby Steggert, who has also been getting good reviews.
Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-11-16 17:15:08
I'm sure they could put a star as Luz (Pawk's role) if they wrote a better song for the character.