Grey Gardens (musical)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Grey Gardens
Grey Gardens (musical starring M L Wilson) poster.jpg
Cover of Broadway original cast recording of Grey Gardens
Music Scott Frankel
Lyrics Michael Korie
Book Doug Wright
Basis 1975 Documentary Grey Gardens
Productions 2006 Off-Broadway
2006 Broadway
2013 Seattle

Grey Gardens is a musical with book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie, 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 the two women's lives from their original status as rich and socially polished aristocrats to their eventual largely isolated existence in a home overrun 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.


The first act depicts the characters in their heyday and is a speculative take on what their lives might have been like when they were younger, when Little Edie was 24 and Big Edie 47. The second act is set 32 years later in 1973 at the decaying Grey Gardens estate, and hews closely to the Maysles Brothers' documentary in its portrayal of them in their later years, when Little Edie is 56 and Big Edie is 79. The same actress who plays Big Edie in the first act plays Little Edie in the second act.


The musical opened Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons on February 10, 2006 and ran through April 30, 2006. Directed by Michael Greif with choreography by Jeff Calhoun, it starred Christine Ebersole, Mary Louise Wilson, and John McMartin. It received mixed reviews, but attracted particularly good reviews for Ebersole and Wilson. It earned five Lucille Lortel Award nominations and twelve Drama Desk Award nominations.

Christine Ebersole received the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics' Circle, and the Drama League Award for Performance of the Year (2006) for her dual roles of Edith and Edie Beale in the Off-Broadway production.[1]

The show opened, with revisions, on Broadway on November 2, 2006 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and closed on July 29, 2007, after 307 performances and 33 previews. The production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2007, winning three, including awards for both Ebersole and Wilson in leading and featured actress categories, respectively.

According to an article in (November 21, 2007), composer Scott Frankel said there are no plans for a national tour based on the 2006-07 Broadway production, but "Dramatists Play Service, Inc. is handling the show's licensing to stock, amateur, university and resident theatres. Independent productions will start playing in those markets in 2008."[2]

In the spring of 2013, a three month run was mounted in Seattle as a co-production between the 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre, starring Patti Cohenour and Suzy Hunt.

International productions[edit]

The Australian premiere was a limited run from November 25 to December 4, 2011, presented by The Production Company at the Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse. Directed by Roger Hodgman, the cast featured Pamela Rabe and Nancye Hayes. The Australian production was nominated for the Helpmann Award for Best Musical in 2012.[3]

The Canadian Premiere was presented from May 2–19, 2012 courtesy of Fighting Chance Productions in Vancouver, BC at the Jericho Arts Centre. The cast featured Cathy Wilmot (Big Edie - Act One/Little Edie - Act Two), Lucas Blaney (Joe Kennedy), Ranae Miller (Little Edie - Act One), Sue Sparlin (Big Edie - Act Two), Jack Rigg (Major Bouvier), Carman J. Price (Gould), Hal Rogers (Brooks), Angela Cotton (Jackie Bouvier) and Emma Cawood (Lee Bouvier) with direction and musical staging by Ryan Mooney and music direction by Caitlin Hayes.

A Japanese production opened on November 7, 2009 at Theater Creation in Tokyo and closed on December 6. The production then toured other Japanese cities, including Osaka and Nagoya.[4]


A documentary from Independent Lens, Grey Gardens: From East Hampton to Broadway, about the making of the musical, was screened on October 18, 2007, at the Hamptons International Film Festival Long Island,[5] and was later shown on television on PBS stations.


Prologue (1973)
Edith Bouvier Beale — Mary Louise Wilson
"Little" Edie Beale — Christine Ebersole
Act I (1941)
Edith Bouvier Beale — Christine Ebersole
George Gould Strong — Bob Stillman
Brooks, Sr. — Michael Potts
Jacqueline BouvierSarah Hyland
Lee Bouvier — Audrey Twitchell (Kelsey Fowler on Broadway)
Edie — Sara Gettelfinger (Erin Davie on Broadway)
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.Matt Cavenaugh
J.V. "Major" Bouvier — John McMartin
Act II (1973)
Edith Bouvier Beale — Mary Louise Wilson
"Little" Edie Beale — Christine Ebersole
Brooks, Jr — Michael Potts
Jerry — Matt Cavenaugh
Norman Vincent Peale — John McMartin

Song List[edit]

≈ denotes new songs written for the Broadway production.[6]

Songs omitted in the Broadway production: "Toyland," "Body Beautiful Beale," "Being Bouvier," "Better Fall Out of Love," "Tomorrow's Woman," "Peas in a Pod" (Reprise).


The Broadway production was received enthusiastically by critics. Time Magazine named Grey Gardens the No. 1 best show to come out in 2006.[7] In reviewing the Off-Broadway production, Ben Brantley, reviewing for The New York Times, wrote "A blend of gentle compassion and acute observation, Ms. Ebersole's performance is one of the most gorgeous ever to grace a musical." However, he also noted that the musical "tilts perilously toward cheap celebrity camp." with a "very long and finally tedious first act."[8] Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that the musical "brings to mind two phrases seldom linked nowadays: 'Broadway musical' and 'artistic integrity'... the songs, with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie, sustain a level of refined language and psychological detail as elevated as Stephen Sondheim's. The score is a meticulously fashioned piece of musical theater that gains in depth the more you listen to it."[9]


The Off-Broadway cast album was released on August 22, 2006.[6]

The Original Broadway Cast album was released on March 27, 2007 through PS Classics.[6][10] It was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2006 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Doug Wright Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Christine Ebersole Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical John McMartin Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Mary Louise Wilson Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Greif Nominated
Outstanding Music Scott Frankel Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Michael Korie Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Bruce Coughlin Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Allen Moyer Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design Brian Ronan Nominated
2007 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Doug Wright Nominated
Best Original Score Scott Frankel Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Christine Ebersole Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Mary Louise Wilson Won
Best Direction of a Musical Michael Greif Nominated
Best Orchestrations Bruce Coughlin Nominated
Best Scenic Design Allen Moyer Nominated
Best Costume Design William Ivey Long Won
Best Lighting Design Peter Kaczorowski Nominated
2008 Grammy Award Best Musical Show Album Nominated


  1. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "'Grey Gardens' Takes Root on Broadway Beginning Oct. 3",, October 3, 2006
  2. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Will Grey Gardens Grow in London? Creative Team Has Hope,, November 21, 2007
  3. ^ "AusStage - Grey Gardens". Retrieved 29 Dec 2014. 
  4. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Thank Heaven You're Here": Grey Gardens Premieres in Japan, November 7, 2009
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "New 'Grey Gardens' Documentary, About the Making of the Musical, Screens Oct. 18" playbill, October 18, 2007
  6. ^ a b c Jones, Kenneth."'Grey Gardens' Will Sprout a Fresh Broadway Cast Album, Due in March", February 12, 2007
  7. ^ Zoglin, Richard."Top 10 Everything 2006. TIME names the year's best in arts and entertainment" Time Magazine, December 20, 2006
  8. ^ Brantley, Ben."Theater Review.'Grey Gardens'" The New York Times, March 8, 2006
  9. ^ BWW News Desk.[1]
  10. ^ Portantiere, Michael.Sunday in Grey Gardens With Martin Short", April 3, 2007


External links[edit]