Showing posts with label THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

THOMAS HARDY CLASSIC THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE

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OFF BROADWAY
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Michael Henchard And Ayanna Williams



NEW YORK – "Casterbridge," based on Thomas Hardy's classic Victorian novel, "The Mayor of Casterbridge," is a new musical theater work with book and lyrics by David Willinger and music by Christopher Beste. The 20-character, two-act musical is fairly faithful to Hardy's parable of the spiritual ups and downs of man and features a score inspired by English country music of the period. Theater for the New City will present the piece's world premiere run June 4 to 19, directed by Willinger.



In Hardy's famous Victorian novel, ne'er-do-well Michael Henchard, when drunk, organizes an auction to sell off his wife. After taking a vow never to drink again, he pulls himself up by his bootstraps to be a pillar of society -- Mayor of the town and a business owner. He reunites with his wife and starts over, only to get pulled back down by his own nature. It is a work full of passion, love, and even humor as Henchard pays his karmic debt. While essentially a romantic tragedy of human flaws, destiny and will, it has both comic highlights and melodramatic moods to enliven it. Its main characters are riveting figures, full of depth and pathos, while its secondary characters are fun in their sharply defined peculiarities.



The piece will be staged with a cast of 15. Its set emphasizes the town's crossroads--a central bridge, which is also a metaphor for crossing between various states in a life's journey. The quaintness of England's West Country, where Hardy set the drama, is amply suggested. The score by Christopher Beste is heavily drawn from traditional English sounds. It hovers on the boundary between Broadway Musical and operetta, containing both lively, tuneful numbers and sung dialogue to connect them.