Monday, April 13, 2009

Broadway Monday

Grey Gardens GreyGardens is a musical, based on the 1975 documentary of the same title about the lives of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie") and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie") by Albert and David Maysles.
The Beales were Jacqueline Kennedy's aunt and cousin, respectively. Set at Grey Gardens, the Bouviers' mansion in East Hampton, New York, the musical tracks the progression of their lives from their original status as rich and socially polished aristocrats to their eventual largely isolated existence in a home overridden by cats and cited for repeated health code violations. However, its more central purpose is to untangle the complicated dynamics of their dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship.

I posted about my obsession with this documentary a few months ago and I'd like to say it has subsided, but thanks to an HBO movie premiering Saturday, April 18th it has been revived and along with it, my love for the Broadway musical.

Every time I listen to the cast recording, watch my bootleg copy (shhh) or clips on YouTube, I am amazed at how this show brought to life the lives of these incredible women and their equally incredible, sad story. Actually, I should say the incredibly sad story of a mother's control over her child which results in mental instability and hermitic behavior.
Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson, both nominated for Tony Awards, stunningly transform themselves into this dysfunctional mother/daughter duo and as an audience member, you become a fly on the wall watching their lives unfold.
Equally as magnificent is the soundtrack written for this show with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. Once you familiarize yourself with the story, the beauty, irony, and heartbreaking accuracy of the lyrics and music are simply astounding. The song playing on the sidebar, "Around the World" pretty much tells the story from Little Edie's eyes highlighting the juxtaposition of sweet reminiscing and furious frustration over her life, void of choice and freedom. Grey Gardens premiered on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on November 2, 2006 and ran for 307 performances, closing on July 29, 2007. Tony nominations came flooding in at a total of 10 with wins for Ebersole and Wilson as Lead Actress and Featured Actress respectively as well as Best Costume Design in a Musical. Christine Ebersole played both Big Edie in her younger days during Act One, and Little Edie in her late 50's during Act Two. Does that count for two Tony's?
Take a look at the real Little Edie vs. the Broadway Little Edie. Brilliant.

Ugh, I could just go on and on, honestly.

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