Dave Malloy is an American composer, who has created several theatre works based on classic works of literature. They include his award winning electropop opera Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, his chamber musical Ghost Quartet and his musical fantasia Preludes. Malloy is a three-time Tony Award nominee. Malloy grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland and began making theater in San Francisco in 2000. Early work included pieces with Banana Bag & Bodice, for whom has been the composer since 2002. In 2008 he composed music for Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage, a Banana Bag & Bodice SongPlay written by Jason Craig and commissioned by the Shotgun Players in Berkeley, California. Beowulf received the 2008 Glickman Award and a 2011 Edinburgh Herald Angel, has played a number of venues and festivals, including Berkeley Repertory’s Roda Theatre, ART’s Club Oberon, Joe’s Pub, festivals in England, Ireland and Australia. After Beowulf, he co-created and performed in Three Pianos, a drunken romp through Schubert’s "Winterreise" that premiered in 2010 at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, winning a Special Citation Obie Award, had runs at New York Theatre Workshop and American Repertory Theatre.
His next work was Beardo, a Russian indie rock musical based on the life of Rasputin, which Malloy wrote with Beowulf collaborator Jason Craig. It played in 2011 in San Francisco and had its New York premiere in February 2017 in a production by Pipeline Theater Company. For Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Malloy was the composer, orchestrator, music director and performer in the role of Pierre Bezukhov. Comet was premiered there in October 2012, directed by Chavkin. In December 2015 the show played a pre-Broadway run at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the show has won an Obie Award, the 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, the Off Broadway Alliance's Best New Musical Award, three Elliot Norton Awards, eight IRNE Awards, eleven Lucille Lortel Awards nominations, five Drama Desk nominations, two Drama League Award nominations. It opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in October 2016 with Josh Groban as Pierre. Malloy reprised his role as Pierre multiple times throughout the run, was the final Broadway Pierre.
Ghost Quartet opened in October 2014 at the Bushwick Starr. After an extended sold out run, the piece transferred to the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, has since played in a number of cities, including Edinburgh, San Francisco, Cambridge, where it won an Elliot Norton Award; the piece is a staged concept album, about love and whiskey. This was followed by Preludes, a piece about Rachmaninoff and hypnosis that premiered at Lincoln Center Theater in June 2015. Malloy lives in New York, he plans future adaptations of Shakespeare's Henriad. Octet Dewdrops: A Requiem Little Bunny Foo Foo Preludes Ghost Quartet Black Wizard / Blue Wizard Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 All Hands Beardo Three Pianos Space//Space Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage Clown Bible The Sewers Sandwich He is the winner of two OBIE Awards, a Richard Rodgers Award, Glickman Award, ASCAP New Horizons Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, New Music USA Grant, a recipient of the 2009 NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Theatre Directors and Designers, the 2011 Composer-in-Residence at Ars Nova.
In 2017, Malloy was the recipient of Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for History. Malloy is featured on the cast recordings for multiple shows, including Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Ghost Quartet, Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage, Clown Bible. Davemalloy.com Official website
Broadway theatre known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world; the Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, for the 2017–2018 season total attendance was 13,792,614 and Broadway shows had US$1,697,458,795 in grosses, with attendance up 3.9%, grosses up 17.1%, playing weeks up 2.8%. The majority of Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the Western Hemisphere.
New York did not have a significant theatre presence until about 1750, when actor-managers Walter Murray and Thomas Kean established a resident theatre company at the Theatre on Nassau Street, which held about 280 people. They presented Shakespeare ballad operas such as The Beggar's Opera. In 1752, William Hallam sent a company of twelve actors from Britain to the colonies with his brother Lewis as their manager, they established a theatre in Williamsburg and opened with The Merchant of Venice and The Anatomist. The company moved to New York in the summer of 1753, performing ballad operas and ballad-farces like Damon and Phillida; the Revolutionary War suspended theatre in New York, but thereafter theatre resumed in 1798, the year the 2,000-seat Park Theatre was built on Chatham Street. The Bowery Theatre opened followed by others. By the 1840s, P. T. Barnum was operating an entertainment complex in Lower Manhattan. In 1829, at Broadway and Prince Street, Niblo's Garden opened and soon became one of New York's premiere nightspots.
The 3,000-seat theatre presented all sorts of non-musical entertainments. In 1844, Palmo's Opera House opened and presented opera for only four seasons before bankruptcy led to its rebranding as a venue for plays under the name Burton's Theatre; the Astor Opera House opened in 1847. A riot broke out in 1849 when the lower-class patrons of the Bowery objected to what they perceived as snobbery by the upper class audiences at Astor Place: "After the Astor Place Riot of 1849, entertainment in New York City was divided along class lines: opera was chiefly for the upper middle and upper classes, minstrel shows and melodramas for the middle class, variety shows in concert saloons for men of the working class and the slumming middle class."The plays of William Shakespeare were performed on the Broadway stage during the period, most notably by American actor Edwin Booth, internationally known for his performance as Hamlet. Booth played the role for a famous 100 consecutive performances at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1865, would revive the role at his own Booth's Theatre.
Other renowned Shakespeareans who appeared in New York in this era were Henry Irving, Tommaso Salvini, Fanny Davenport, Charles Fechter. Theatre in New York moved from downtown to midtown beginning around 1850, seeking less expensive real estate. In the beginning of the 19th century, the area that now comprises the Theater District was owned by a handful of families and comprised a few farms. In 1836, Mayor Cornelius Lawrence opened 42nd Street and invited Manhattanites to "enjoy the pure clean air." Close to 60 years theatrical entrepreneur Oscar Hammerstein I built the iconic Victoria Theater on West 42nd Street. Broadway's first "long-run" musical was a 50-performance hit called The Elves in 1857. In 1870, the heart of Broadway was in Union Square, by the end of the century, many theatres were near Madison Square. Theatres did not arrive in the Times Square area until the early 1900s, the Broadway theatres did not consolidate there until a large number of theatres were built around the square in the 1920s and 1930s.
New York runs continued to lag far behind those in London, but Laura Keene's "musical burletta" The Seven Sisters shattered previous New York records with a run of 253 performances. It was at a performance by Keene's troupe of Our American Cousin in Washington, D. C. that Abraham Lincoln was shot. The first theatre piece that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is considered to be The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866; the production was five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking 474 performances. The same year, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post was the first show to call itself a "musical comedy". Tony Pastor opened the first vaudeville theatre one block east of Union Square in 1881, where Lillian Russell performed. Comedians Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produced and starred in musicals on Broadway between 1878 and 1890, with book and lyrics by Harrigan and music by his father-in-law David Braham.
These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York's lower classes and represented a significant step forward from vaudeville and burlesque, towards a more literate form. They starred high quality singers, instead of the women of questionable repute who had starred in earlier m
Kerry Marie Butler is an American actress known for her work in theatre. Born in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, Butler began acting in commercials at age three, she notes that growing up, "When I saw Annie... I knew, what I wanted to do." After a four-year hiatus imposed by her mother, Kerry started acting again at the age of nine and has been at it since. Butler graduated from Ithaca College in 1992. Butler toured with the musical Oklahoma! in Europe in the role of Ado Annie. Other New York roles included Vicki in the workshop of Bright Lights, Big City, Barrow in The "I" Word and Claudia in The Folsom Head, she has done work on various commercials. Butler made her Broadway debut in 1993 in the role of Ms. Jones in the musical Blood Brothers, where she understudied the role of Linda. In 1995, Butler originated the role of Belle for the Toronto production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, where she was nominated for the DORA Award for her performance, transferred to Broadway. After playing Belle for over two years, she left the musical in September 1997 and was replaced by Debbie Gibson.
She moved over to Les Misérables to play Eponine. In 2001, Butler played the love interest Shelley in the acclaimed Off Broadway original musical Bat Boy: The Musical. Though the show had a "fanatical following," Butler noted that "We were building an audience before Sept. 11. And after that we never recovered. People didn't want to go out at all, let alone downtown." Bat Boy closed in December 2001. In February 2002 Butler was cast as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, the musical version of the John Waters 1988 film of the same name. After an out-of-town tryout in Seattle, Hairspray opened on Broadway on August 2002 and "became an immediate Broadway smash." In a star-studded ensemble cast, reviewers singled Butler out for her sparkling performance as the spastic sidekick. The show won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. For her performance, Butler was nominated for the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, received the Clarence Derwent Award. While Hairspray went into pre-production, Butler played the free-spirited performance artist Maddie in the limited run of the intimate Australian musical Prodigal at the York Theatre.
In March 2002 Butler appeared on the TV show Sesame Street as Ms. Camp, a letter carrier. During her run in Hairspray Butler filmed a TV pilot for Fox entitled Twins, but it was not picked up for the season. After starring in Hairspray for a year Butler left the cast in July 2003 and was succeeded by Jenn Gambatese. Following the end of her Hairspray contract, Butler was cast in the role of Audrey in the second, more successful, Broadway production of the musical, Little Shop of Horrors. Butler revisited her long-lost childhood Brooklyn accent to play Audrey, the love interest with a sadistic dentist boyfriend and a heart of gold. A fan of Little Shop composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for Beauty and the Beast, Butler received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Little Shop. After leaving the show in the summer of 2004, Butler traveled to San Francisco where she created the role of scheming, foul-mouthed teenager Dedee Truitt in the new musical The Opposite of Sex, which had its world premiere at the Magic Theatre that fall.
The musical is based on Don Roos' 1998 film starring Lisa Kudrow. In the fall of 2005, Butler appeared in the original Off-Broadway musical Miracle Brothers at the Vineyard Theatre, she played the role of Isabel, a mother made miserable by the rebelliousness of her son as well as her unhappy marriage. In the summer of 2006 she reprised her role of Dedee in The Opposite of Sex at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, followed that by taking on the role of Kate, the Ayn Rand-loving runaway bride, in the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Party Come Here. Butler portrayed the manipulative heiress and recovering alcoholic Claudia Reston on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, from January 2006 until January 2007, when her character was written off the show. Beginning May 2007 through September 2008, Butler returned to the Broadway stage to star in the new musical Xanadu, based on the 1980 roller-disco film starring Olivia Newton-John, she played the dual role of Clio/Kira, a Greek muse who inspires and falls in love with a struggling artist.
Butler spent nearly the duration of the show on skates. Expected to be a flop, the musical opened in July 2007 to extensive critical acclaim and was the surprise hit of the summer. For her role in Xanadu, Butler was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. In February and March 2008, Butler appeared as Reese, the thieving assistant to a fashion designer, in the first season of the television series Lipstick Jungle, on NBC. In May 2008, Butler released her first solo album on the PS Classics label; the album is entitled Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust and features some of Butler's favorite songs from Disney films and shows given "intimate, acoustic" arrangements. The title is taken from the lyrics of the Jonatha Brooke song "I'll Try", from the film Return to Neverland, featured on the album. Of note is the track "This Only Happens in the Movies", an unreleased song written by Alan Menken, being given its inaugural recording.
The full track listing is below. In a unique contest sponsored by her official site, Butler let fans submit suggestions for one song to be included on the album, with the winner, chosen by Butler, joining her in the studio when the song was recorded; the winning e
Debra Monk is an American actress and writer, best known for her performances on the Broadway stage. She earned her first Tony Award for the 1993 production of Redwood Curtain and won an Emmy Award for several guest appearances on NYPD Blue between 1998 and 1999. Monk was born in Ohio, she was voted Best Personality" by her graduating class at Wheaton High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1973, she graduated from Frostburg State University. In 1975, Monk was awarded a Master of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University in Texas. Monk garnered first attention in theatrical circles as one of the co-writers and co-stars of the musical Pump Boys and Dinettes, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for performance in Redwood Curtain. She was nominated for a Tony Award for roles in Picnic, Steel Pier, Curtains. In 2000, she won an Obie Award for The Time of the Cuckoo, she returned to the stage in Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of Visiting Edna by David Rabe in September 2016.
Monk appeared on the Food Channel cooking show Barefoot Contessa, where she cooked Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad, Tri-Berry Crumble. Monk has appeared in over 30 films since the early 1990s, she made her film debut in the movie version of Prelude to a Kiss. She appeared in The Bridges of Madison County and The Devil's Advocate. On television, she has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for a recurring role as Katie Sipowicz in the ABC series, NYPD Blue, she guest-starred on Law & Order, Desperate Housewives, The Closer, Girls. Monk had recurring roles in A Nero Wolfe Mystery, Grey's Anatomy, Damages. A Nero Wolfe Mystery — Member of the repertory cast, performing various roles in "The Doorbell Rang", "Disguise for Murder", "Over My Dead Body", "Too Many Clients" and "The Silent Speaker" Law & Order - 1994 as Kathleen O'Brien, 2002 as Dr. Madelyn Stahl & 2005 as Judge G. Proctor NYPD Blue - 1999 Emmy Award in role of Katie Sipowicz Grey's Anatomy - Louise O'Malley Notes from the Underbelly Desperate Housewives - in season 3 episode "Children and Art" Damages - Denise Parsons Frasier 2003 Season 11 episode "No Sex Please We're Skittish" Glee 2009 season 1 episode "Acafellas" Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!
White Collar 2012 season 3 episode "Pulling Strings" Girls 2014 season 3 episodes 1 & 2 Mozart in the Jungle — Betty Mercy Street Drew Crowded Blindspot - Colonel Powers Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 2017 season 12 episode 6 “Dinner Party 101” Dietland - Mrs Kettle Debra Monk at the Internet Broadway Database Debra Monk on IMDb Debra Monk at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Star File: Debra Monk at Broadway.com at playbill.com August 9, 2006
Jason Robert Brown
Jason Robert Brown is an American musical theatre composer and playwright. Brown's music sensibility fuses pop-rock stylings with theatrical lyrics. An accomplished pianist, Brown has served as music director, conductor and pianist for his own productions, he has won Tony Awards for his work on Parade and The Bridges of Madison County. Brown grew up in the suburbs of New York City, attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York for 2 years. During summer, he attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in New York, he said Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Sunday in the Park with George were two of his biggest influences, had it not been for them, he would have joined a rock band and tried to be Billy Joel. He began his career in New York City as an arranger and pianist, working on shows such as William Finn's A New Brain, playing at several nightclubs and piano bars in the city. Songs for a New World marked the first major New York production of Brown's songs.
An off-Broadway revue with a limited run, the show was directed by Daisy Prince, daughter of director/producer Hal Prince, featured the 25-year-old Brown's pop-rock-influenced music. The song "Stars and the Moon" has since become a cabaret standard, is Brown's best-known composition to date. Brown was subsequently hired to write songs for the Broadway musical Parade, based on the trial and lynching of Leo Frank, after meeting Hal Prince. Parade, directed by Prince and with a book by Alfred Uhry, won Brown the 1999 Tony Award for Best Original Score. During this production, one of the producers of Parade, pulled out after reviews were not as positive as they'd hoped. RCA Victor, the other major producer, decided. Brown said, they announced. RCA had an agreement to record all of Livent's shows, but when Livent pulled out of ` Parade,' the RCA higher-ups said. I had to go to Billy Rosenfield and ask him:'What if we pay for this record and you just distribute it?' Billy said,'Sure.'" Brown had to try to scrounge money from every corner, "In the end, RCA put in $25,000, Lincoln Center put in a big chunk, around $200,000, including the producer Scott Rudin's $25,000, there was a contribution from the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla foundation, which has helped support a lot of musical theatre composers over the years, of $40,000.
Roy Furman, the new guy at Livent, gave us a little money. Somehow, we pulled it together." Livent was struggling at the time because the company had mishandled funds while applying for bankruptcy protection. Brown went back to working with Daisy Prince for his third major show The Last Five Years, for which he wrote the book as well as songs. Inspired by his own failed first marriage, the show is a two-person musical which tells the history of a relationship from two different perspectives; the male's narrative begins at the beginning of the story and progresses through marriage and divorce, while the female narrative begins at the end of the relationship and ends with the couple's first date. The original Chicago cast consisted of Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy, with Sherie Rene Scott over the New York run; the Last Five Years received mixed critical reviews and was not a commercial success, lasting only two months off-Broadway, although Brown garnered 2 Drama Desk Awards for music and lyrics.
Additionally, due to the cast recording featuring Scott and Butz, the show has gained popularity among contemporary musical theatre aficionados and is an oft-performed piece in regional and community theatres. A film version of the show, featuring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, was released in February 2015. Brown contributed several songs to the Broadway flop Urban Cowboy, he had worked as an orchestrator with director Phillip Oesterman on the Off-Broadway musical New York Rock, Oesterman called on him to help him out with Urban Cowboy. Urban Cowboy had been denied the use of the Clint Black catalog, Brown came in and wrote a few songs; the show was nominated, with 30 other composers, for the 2003 Tony Award for best Musical Score, losing out to Hairspray. In June 2005, Brown released a solo album, entitled Wearing Someone Else's Clothes. In December 2005, his Chanukah Suite received its world premiere with two performances by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
He teaches courses in musical theatre performance and composition at the University of Southern California. Brown is an active performer of his own work and playing the piano with or without his band, the Caucasian Rhythm Kings. Brown's tween-oriented musical 13 premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA on January 7, 2007, it opened on Broadway October 5, 2008 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, closed on January 4, 2009, his Bridges of Madison County, a musical adaption of the film with Marsha Norman premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on August 1, 2013. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the cast featured Elena Shaddow as Steven Pasquale; the musical opened on Broadway on February 27, 2014, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, starring Kelli O'Hara as Francesca. According to Brown, Brian Lowdermilk used to be an assistant to him. Brown has publicized his personal efforts to discourage the unauthorized online sharing of his copyrighted sheet music via an e-mail conversation with a teenager named Eleanor.
Current projects incl
Terrence McNally is an American playwright and screenwriter. McNally has been described as "a probing and enduring dramatist" and "one of the greatest contemporary playwrights the theater world has yet produced", he has received the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. He is a 2018 inductee of the American Academy of Letters; the honor of election is considered the highest form of recognition of artistic merit in the United States. His other accolades include an Emmy Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, four Drama Desk Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Obie Awards, three Hull-Warriner Awards, he is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016, the Lotos Club honored McNally at their annual "State Dinner," which has honored such luminaries as W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, George M. Cohan, Moss Hart, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Saul Bellow, Arthur Miller.
In addition to his award-winning plays and musicals, he written two operas, multiple screenplays, a memoir. He has been a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild since 1970 and served as vice-president from 1981 to 2001, was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1998, McNally was awarded an honorary degree from The Juilliard School in recognition of his efforts to revive the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program with fellow playwright John Guare. In 2013, he returned to his alma mater, Columbia University, where he was the keynote speaker for the graduating class of 2013 on Class Day, his career has spanned six decades, his plays and operas are performed all over the world. The diversity and range of his work is remarkable, as McNally has resisted identification with any particular cultural scene. Active in the regional and off-Broadway theatre movements as well as on Broadway, he is one of the few playwrights of his generation to have passed from the avant-garde to mainstream acclaim.
His work centers on urgent need for human connection. For McNally, the most important function of theatre is to create community and bridge rifts opened between people by differences in religion, race and sexual orientation. In an address to members of the League of American Theatres and Producers he remarked, "I think theatre teaches us who we are, what our society is, where we are going. I don't think theatre can solve the problems of a society, nor should it be expected to... Plays don't do that. People do. Provide a forum for the ideas and feelings that can lead a society to decide to heal and change itself." McNally was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, to Hubert and Dorothy McNally, two transplanted New Yorkers who ran a seaside bar and grill called The Pelican Club, but after a hurricane destroyed the establishment, the family relocated to Port Chester, NY to Dallas, TX and to Corpus Christi, TX where he remained until McNally moved to New York City in 1956 to attend Columbia University.
Once in Corpus Christi, Hubert McNally purchased and managed a Schlitz beer distributorship, McNally attended W. B. Ray High School. Despite his distance from New York City, McNally's parents enjoyed Broadway musicals, some of his first memories of the theater come from their occasional trips to New York; when McNally was eight years old, his parents took him to see Annie Get Your Gun, starring Ethel Merman, on a subsequent outing, McNally saw Gertrude Lawrence in The King and I. Both productions had a lasting impression on the young McNally, it was in high school where McNally was first encouraged to write, having become a dedicated protege to a gifted English teacher named Maurine McElroy. He would subsequently dedicate several of his plays to her, when she died in 2005, he supplied the inscription to her tombstone: "Not just an English teacher, but a life teacher." McElroy encouraged McNally to concentrate in schools outside Texas, which led him to matriculate at Columbia University as a journalism major.
He attended the prestigious university in its "golden age" of instruction, where his teachers included Meyer Schapiro for art history, Eric Bentley for drama, Lionel Trilling for literature. Influential was Andrew Chiappe, who instructed a popular two-semester course on Shakespeare in which students read every one of Shakespeare's plays in the order of their composition, he joined the Boar's Head Society and wrote Columbia's annual Varsity Show, which featured music by fellow student Edward L. Kleban and directed by Michael P. Kahn, he graduated in 1960 with a B. A. in English, the same year in which he gained membership into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In 1961, only one year out of Columbia University, McNally was hired by novelist John Steinbeck to accompany him and his family on a cruise around the world. McNally had been recommended by Molly Kazan, the Steinbecks' neighbor and McNally's mentor at the Playwrights Unit of the Actors Studio, as a tutor for his two teenage boys; the voyage would prove influential as McNally completed a draft of what would become the opening act of And Things That Go Bump in the Night.
Steinbeck would go on to ask McNally to write the libretto for a musical version of the novel East of Eden. After graduation, McNally moved to Mexico to focus on his writing, completing a one-act play which he submitted to the Actors Studio in New York for production. While the play was turned down by the acting school, the Studio was impressed with the script, McNally was invited to serve as
Elizabeth S. "Lisa" Kron is playwright. She is best known for writing the Lyrics and Book to the musical Fun Home for which she won both the Tony Award for Best Original Score and the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Fun Home was awarded the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2015 and the 2014 Obie Award for writing for Musical Theater. Kron was born in Michigan, she jokes in one of her plays that her life began on her parents' trip to Europe: "I was conceived in Venice, you know."Her mother is Ann Kron, born in 1932. Ann is a former antiques community activist. In the 1960s she founded the Westside Neighborhood Organization in Michigan. In a time when neighborhood segregation was the norm, the WNO helped to bring people from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds together. Ann converted to Judaism, her father is Walter Kron, a retired lawyer born in Germany in 1922. He was born to a Jewish family, is a Holocaust survivor. In 1937 as the Nazi persecution of the Jews escalated, his parents sent him out of Germany via the Kindertransport program.
He went back to Germany after World War II. In the 1990s Kron and her father visited Auschwitz, where he believed his parents were murdered by the Nazis in the 1940s, she found out that her father's parents were killed in Chelmno. Her brother is David Kron, born in 1963, he is married with a son. He says of his sister: "She is funny, with a sharp wit... And she always had her own way of looking at things."In her play Well Kron says that she felt like an outsider in her own family because she, her parents and her brother David were the only Jews. Her maternal family is Christian and none of her Jewish paternal family survived the Holocaust, her play 2.5 Minute Ride describes this contradiction as she recalls her mother asking her to come home for the holidays: "...she asks me every year,'Are you going to make it home for Christmas this year?' And I say' I don't come home for Christmas Mom. I have never come home for Christmas. We are not Christians. Stop trying to trick me!"Kron's family moved to Lansing, Michigan in 1965.
One of the main story lines in her play Well recounts her experiences attending a predominantly African American elementary school in that city. Kron's parents sent her to the school in an effort to help integrate it. Lansing began mandatory racial integration in its schools three years later. Kron became interested in theatre at an early age, she traces her acting roots to the Purim plays that she performed as a child at her synagogue in Lansing. In junior high she was determined to be the funniest girl. "Her avenue for, telling humorous stories, something that everyone in her family did…"She graduated from Everett High School as a valedictorian in 1979. In her senior year she attended special theater classes at Lansing School District's Academic Interest Center. An early mentor was her theater teacher at the late Robert L. Burpee, she attended Kalamazoo College. At Kalamazoo College theater professor Lowry Marshall mentored her and helped her land a role with a national touring theater company.
She furthered her studies at Chautauqua Professional Actors Studio and the British European Studies Group in London. Kron's major works to date are 2.5 Minute Ride and Fun Home. The first two are critically acclaimed autobiographical plays, the third a critically acclaimed biographical musical. 2.5 Minute Ride blends a trip she took with her father Walter to Auschwitz, the scene of his parents' extermination by the Nazis and her family's annual trip to an amusement park in Ohio. Kron says in the introduction to her play: "Humor and horror are juxtaposed and you might not know for a second whether you are at Auschwitz or at the amusement park; the show does not tell you when to be solemn. The response is up to you."The play recounts her father's remarkable experiences: "When my father… heard that his parents had been sent to Auschwitz, he tried to order a ham sandwich, to distance himself from Judaism. But he couldn't. He'd say to the waitress,'Um... tuna fish.' " Kron reflects on looking at a poem on exhibit during their trip to Auschwitz: "I repeat the words that have undone me.'
People burn people here.' " One of the most memorable scenes in the play is when her father tells her about the death of her grandparents at Auschwitz: …I don't think I accepted it until a few years ago, in Lansing. It was the winter and it was so cold and I was shivering…And I realized this would only happen to them once, they were old and they stood outside, lined up in the cold and they were of no use to anyone and they were killed… Well explores her mother Ann's experiences with social activism and illness, The play uses physical illness as a metaphor for social "illnesses" such as racism. Kron's description of Well: "A multicharacter theatrical exploration of issues of health and illness both in the individual and in a community." Kron describes her mother: My mother is a fantastically energetic person trapped in an utterly exhausted body…when she has a burst of energy it's awe inspiring. For instance, when we were young she decided she wanted my brother and me to be raised in a racially integrated neighborhood, she set about to create one.
Fun Home is Kron's first first work based on an existing work by another artist. Alison Bechdel's acclaimed graphic novel/memoir Fun Home serves as the basis for the musical. Kron wrote the book and lyrics, Tony-nominated composer Jeanine Tesori