Dessa Rose (musical)
|Basis||novel by Sherley Anne Williams|
2005 Off Broadway2014 West End
Dessa Rose is a musical based on the book by Sherley Anne Williams with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It tells the story of a young black woman and a young white woman and their journey to acceptance in 1847 in the ante-bellum South, as they tell their story to their grandchildren.
Dessa Rose premiered at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, New York City, from February 17 in previews, officially March 21 to May 29, 2005. The director and choreograher was Graciela Daniele, with Set Design by Loy Arcenas, Costume Design by Toni-Leslie James, Lighting Design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, and Orchestrations by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke. The cast featured LaChanze as Dessa Rose and Rachel York as Ruth.
The New England Premiere was at New Repertory Theatre in 2008. It was directed by Rick Lombardo. Music direction was by Todd Gordon, choreography by Kelli Edwards, fight direction by Meron Langsner, sets by Peter Colao, costumes by Frances Nelson McSherry, and lights by Frank Messiner Jr. It starred Leigh Barret, Uzo Aduba, and Todd Allan Johnson.
A cast album was recorded on May 2, 2005 and released by Jay Productions.
The music contains "American roots music — blues, folk, different hymns, early kinds of gospel, the idea of call-and-response, which was a coded way the slaves communicated so that the white people thought they were just singing."
|LaChanze||Dessa Rose (ages 16 and 80)|
|Rachel York||Ruth (ages 20 and 84)|
|Tina Fabrique||Rose, House Slave, Ada, Auntie Chole|
|Rebecca Eichenberger||Ruth's mother, Mrs. Steele, Susannah|
|Kecia Lewis||Dorcas, Field Hand, Gemina, Janet|
|Eric Jordan Young||Kaine, Field Hand, Philip|
|David Hess||Sheriff Hughes, Trader Wilson, Bertie Sutton, Parishioner, Auctioneer|
|Michael Hayden||Adam Nehemiah|
|William Parry||Robert Steele, Parishioner, Auctioneer, Mr. Oscar, Sheriff Pine|
|James Stovall||Haker, Field Hand|
|Soara-Joye Ross||Field Hand, Parishioner, House Slave, Annabel|
Awards and nominations
- 2005 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Lighting Design - Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (nominee)
- 2005 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Sound Designer - Scott Lehrer (nominee)
- 2005 AUDELCO Costume Design - Toni-Leslie James (nominee)
- 2005 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical (nominee)
- 2005 Obie Award Performance – LaChanze (Winner)
- Simonson, Robert."New Flaherty-Ahrens Musical, Dessa Rose, to Workshop in Summer 2003" playbill.com, December 6, 2002
- Simonson, Robert."La Chanze and Rachel York Bloom in Antebellum Dessa Rose, Opening March 21" playbill.com, March 21, 2005
- Hernandez, Ernio.Linda Mugleston Stars in Dessa Rose at Palo Alto's TheatreWorks Oct. 4" playbill.com, October 4, 2006
- Connema, Richard.Review, Dessa Rose at TheatreWorks talkingbroadway.org, October 25, 2006
- Suskin, Steven."Flaherty and Ahrens’ Dessa Rose and Sandy Wilson’s The Buccaneer" playbill.com, January 8, 2006
- Arnold, Monty."Dessacreation" playbill.com, March 21, 2005
- Dessa Rose, cast album liner notes, Jay Productions CDJAY2 1392
- Dessa Rose at Internet Off Broadway Database
- Dessa Rose at guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- Dessa Rose at the Music Theatre International website
- Ahrens and Flaherty Official Site
- The New York Times review, March 22, 2005
- "Curtain Up" review, March 24, 2005