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|Basis||Novel by B. J. Chute|
Based on the novel by B. J. Chute, the musical is a fantasy, set in the magical town of Greenwillow. In Greenwillow, the eldest in each generation of Briggs men must obey the "call to wander", while the women they leave behind care for the home and rear their children in the hope that some day their husbands will return. Gideon loves his girlfriend, Dorrie, and would like nothing better than to settle down with her, and finds in the town's newest inhabitant, the Reverend Birdsong, an ally who will try to help him make his dream come true.
The musical had a pre-Broadway try-out at the Shubert Theatre in Philadelphia. The musical opened on Broadway on March 8, 1960, at the Alvin Theatre. Hampered by lukewarm reviews, it closed on May 28, 1960, after 97 performances. The director was George Roy Hill and choreographer was Joe Layton, scenery by Peter Larkin and costumes by Alvin Colt. The cast included Anthony Perkins as Gideon Briggs, Cecil Kellaway, Pert Kelton, Ellen McCown as Dorrie Whitbred, William Chapman and Marian Mercer.
This play was being rehearsed in New York while Anthony Perkins was simultaneously filming the Alfred Hitchcock classic shocker Psycho (1960) in Los Angeles. Over the years in interviews about the infamous shower scene in that film, Anthony Perkins has always said that during the whole week of filming required for that scene, his stand-in was used, because he was in New York rehearsing for a Broadway play. Greenwillow was that play.
The musical was presented by the York Theatre Company (New York City) in its "Musicals-in-Mufti" series in 2004. Peter Filichia said the the score was "grand" and noted that, in reviewing the original production, Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times wrote that 'Loesser has provided a warm and varied score that captures the simple mood'".
Awards and nominations
- Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Pert Kelton)
- Best Scenic Design (Musical) (Peter Larkin)
- Best Costume Design (Alvin Colt)
- Best Choreography (Joe Layton)
- Best Conductor and Musical Director (Abba Bogin)
- Best Stage Technician (James Orr)
- Dietz, Dan.Greenwillow "The Complete Book of 1960s Broadway Musicals" (2014) (books.google.com), Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 144223072X, p.12
- " Greenwillow on Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed July 12, 2014
- Filichia, Peter. "Greater Loesser" theatermania.com, October 17, 2004
- Barbra Archives: Records/The Third Album
- Greenwillow at the Internet Broadway Database
- Greenwillow at the Music Theatre International website
- Time magazine review