The Witches of Eastwick (musical)

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The Witches of Eastwick
The Witches of Eastwick (musical).jpg
Music Dana P. Rowe
Lyrics John Dempsey
Book John Dempsey
Basis The Witches of Eastwick novel by John Updike
Productions 2000 London West End
2002 Melbourne, Australia
2003 Moscow
2007 Czech Republic
2007 Arlington, Virginia
2008 UK Tour
2011 São Paulo, Brazil

The Witches of Eastwick is a 2000 musical based on the novel of the same name by John Updike. It was adapted by John Dempsey (lyrics and book) and Dana P. Rowe (music), directed by Eric Schaeffer, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

The story is based around three female protagonists, the 'Witches' Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont. Frustrated and bored by their mundane lives in the town of Eastwick, a shared longing and desire for "all manner of man in one man" comes to life in the form of a charismatic stranger, a devil-like character, Darryl Van Horne. Seducing each of the women in turn Darryl teaches them how to further expand the powers locked within, though their new unorthodox lifestyle scandalizes the town. As these powers become more sinister and events spiral out of control, the women come to realise that Darryl's influence is corrupting everyone he comes into contact with and resolve to use their new-found strength to exile him from their lives.

Productions[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Starring Ian McShane in the lead role of Darryl Van Horne and Maria Friedman (Sukie), Lucie Arnaz (Alexandra) and Joanna Riding (Jane) as the three witches. The show began its preview period in London's West End on June 24, 2000 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Opening on July 18 to mixed-positive reviews, the decision was taken to transfer to the more intimate Prince of Wales Theatre from March 23, 2001. Ian McShane left and was replaced by his understudy, Earl Carpenter, whilst the physical production was revised to fit in the smaller theatre. A number of lyrics and scenes were revised and the song 'Who's the Man?' was replaced with a rousing gospel number entitled 'The Glory of Me'. A general cast change from July 1, 2001 saw Clarke Peters lead the company, with Josefina Gabrielle and Rebecca Thornhill as Alex and Sukie respectively, joining Joanna Riding who stayed with the show after receiving the Olivier Award nomination for the role.[1] The show received generally favourable reviews with the second cast but, after a 15 month run, closed on October 27, 2001.

Original London Cast[edit]

  • Ian McShane as Daryll Van Horne
  • Lucie Arnaz as Alexandra Spofford
  • Joanna Riding as Jane Smart
  • Maria Friedman as Sukie Rougemont
  • Rosemary Ashe as Felicia Gabriel
  • Stephen Tate as Clyde Gabriel
  • Caroline Sheen as Jennifer Gabriel
  • Peter Jöback as Michael Spofford
  • Gee Williams as Fidel
  • Sarah Lark as Little Girl
  • Jasna Ivir as Gina Marino
  • Tim Walton as Joe Marino
  • Anne Marie McCormack as Gretta Neff
  • Kevin Wainwright as Raymond Neff
  • Lisa Peace as Marge Persley
  • Shaun Henson as Homer Persley
  • Earl Carpenter as Reverend Ed Parsley
  • Kathryn Akin as Brenda Parsley
  • Jocelyn Hawkyard as Rebecca Barnes
  • Nick Searle as Toby Bergman
  • Valda Aviks as Eudora Bryce
  • Matt Dempsey as Curtis Hallerbread
  • Scarlett Strallen as Mavis Jessup
  • Julia Sutton as Franny Lovecraft
  • Chris Holland as Frank Ogden
  • Alison Forbes as Mabel Ogden
  • Maurice Lane as Dr Henry Pattison
  • Jean McGlynn as Marcy Wills

London Replacements[edit]

  • Earl Carpenter replaced Ian McShane as Daryll Van Horne on March 23, 2001
  • Clarke Peters replaced Earl Carpenter as Daryll Van Horne on July 1, 2001
  • Josefina Gabriel replaced Lucy Arnaz as Alexandra Spofford on July 1, 2001
  • Rebecca Thornhill replaced Maria Friedman as Sukie Rougemont on July 1, 2001
  • Paul Spicer replaced Peter Jobak as Michael Spofford on July 1, 2001
  • Elizabeth Yeats replaced Jasna Ivir as Gina Marino on July 1, 2001
  • Christopher Howell replaced Kevin Wainwright as Raymond Neff on July 1, 2001
  • Amanda Villamayor replaced Kathryn Akin as Brenda Parsley on July 1, 2001

Australia, Russia and Czech Republic[edit]

The first international production opened in Australia at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne. Starring Paul McDermott as Darryl van Horne, with Marina Prior, Angela Toohey and Pippa Grandison as Jane, Alexandra and Sukie respectively, with Sabrina Batshon, future finalist of Australian Idol season 7, as The Little Girl, and Matt Lee as Michael Spofford, the show began previews on 19 August 2002. Revisions were made, including new lyrics and the excision of one number, 'Loose Ends'. However, the show never found an audience and closed on 17 November 2002.[2][3]

The Russian production opened in Moscow on 12 March 2003 using new sets as well as on-stage rain and fire effects. The role of Darryl van Horne was double-cast with Dmitriy Pevtsov and Aleksey Kortnev sharing the part. Other roles were similarly played by two or three actors. A brief revival was held in 2007, with scaled down sets and effects, but with Pevtsov reprising his role.

The premiere in the Czech Republic opened on February 2007 at the Brno City Theatre, directed by Stanislav Moša and choreographed by Igor Barberić. The show was translated into Czech by Jiří Josek and produced the first commercial recording since the Original London Cast album.

2007 U.S. premiere[edit]

The American premiere opened at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia in a limited engagement from June 5, 2007 through July 15, 2007. Directed by Eric Schaeffer, the original director and Signature Theatre's Artistic Director, the cast starred Marc Kudisch as Darryl Van Horne, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan as Sukie Rougemont, Emily Skinner as Alexandra Spofford, and Christiane Noll as Jane Smart.[4] Kudisch received the Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical.

The authors made numerous changes to the show. Numbers were abbreviated ("Eastwick Knows"), cut ("I Love A Little Town") and added ("Your Wildest Dreams"). Scenes and songs were re-arranged,[5] and the production received positive notices. The Washington Post reviewer wrote that "The musical adaptation has way more kick than the wispy 1987 film.... It's on the technical level that [Eric Schaeffer]'s production still has kinks to work out, for until the actresses are airborne... the mechanics look and feel clunky."[6] BroadwayWorld.com stated that "director Eric Schaeffer certainly pulls The Witches of Eastwick all together... does it ever succeed."[7] CultureVulture.net commented that the show is "full of body-shaking thunder, raunchy behavior, and surprises. Gut reaction based on the performance seen June 17 says this show will make it to Broadway and be reasonably successful there."[8] Talkin' Broadway wrote that the "Broadway actors... give memorable and funny performances in the four lead roles.... Choreographer Karma Camp gets a chance to show off in this production."[9]

Original 2007 U.S Premiere Cast[edit]

  • Marc Kudisch as Daryll Van Horne
  • Emily Skinner as Alexandra Spofford
  • Christine Noll as Jane Smart
  • Jacquelyn Piro Donovan as Sukie Rougemont
  • Karlah Hamilton as Felicia Gabriel
  • Harry A. Winter as Clyde Gabriel
  • Erin Driscoll as Jennifer Gabriel
  • James Gardiner as Michael Spofford
  • Scott J. Strasbaugh as Fidel
  • Brittany O'Grady as Little Girl
  • David Corington as Joe Marino
  • Tammy Roberts as Gina Marino
  • Jeremy Benton as Raymond Neff
  • Amy McWilliams as Gretta Neff
  • Ilona Dulaski as Marge Perley
  • Thomas Adrian Simpson as Reverend Ed Parsley
  • Sherri L. Edelen as Brenda Parsley
  • Deigo Preito as Frank Ogden
  • Matt Conner as Toby Bergeman
  • Brianne Cobuzzi as Rebecca Barnes

UK Tour 2008-2009[edit]

A new, touring production opened on 23 August 2008 at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Directed by Nikolai Foster with design by Peter Mckintosh, choreography by Geoffrey Garratt and musical direction by Tom Deering, the production visited a further 26 cities before finishing at the King's Theatre, Glasgow on 9 May 2009. Marti Pellow starred as Darryl van Horne, Ria Jones as Alexandra, Poppy Tierney as Jane and, reprising her role from the London production, Rebecca Thornhill as Sukie. The creative team collaborated with the writers on further changes to the material, incorporating many of the rewrites from the American premiere, and making more, such as re-expanding "Eastwick Knows", adding a reprise of "Dance with the Devil" to close the exorcism scene, and reinstating "Loose Ends".

Original 2008 UK Tour Cast[edit]

  • Marti Pellow as Daryll Van Horne
  • Ria Jones as Alexandra Spofford
  • Poppy Tierney as Jane Smart
  • Rebecca Thornhill as Sukie Rougemont
  • Rachel Izen as Felicia Gabriel
  • James Graeme as Clyde Gabriel
  • Joanna Kirkland as Jennifer Gabriel
  • Chris Thatcher as Michael Spofford
  • Oliver Walker as Fidel
  • Victoria Hay as Little Girl
  • Russel Leighton Dixon as Joe Marino
  • Ngo Omene Ngofa as Gina Marino
  • Gregory Clarke as Raymond Neff
  • Claire Platt as Gretta Neff
  • Julie Stark as Marge Perley
  • Ralph Birtwell as Reverend Ed Parsley
  • Samantha Mercer as Brenda Parsley
  • Ross Finnie as Frank Ogden
  • Oliver Watton as Toby Bergman
  • Vikki Lee Taylor as Rebecca Barnes

2011 Brazilian Production[edit]

The show opened at Teatro Bradesco in São Paulo on August 13, 2011. The production starred comedy actresses Maria Clara Gueiros and Fafy Siqueira as Alexandra and Felicia, respectively, and minor television actor Eduardo Galvão as Darryl. The show was a huge flop and closed within a few months.

2011 Brazilian Cast[edit]

  • Eduardo Galvão as Daryll Van Horne
  • Maria Clara Gueiros as Alexandra Spofford
  • Sabrina Korgut as Jane Smart
  • Renata Ricci as Sukie Rougemont
  • Fafy Siqueira as Felicia Gabriel
  • Renato Rabelo as Clyde Gabriel
  • Clara Verdier as Jennifer Gabriel
  • André Torquato as Michael Spofford
  • Ben Ludmer as Fidel
  • Isabella Moreira and Larissa Manoela as Little Girl

2014 Norwegian Production[edit]

The show opened at Sandvika Teater in Bærum just outside of Oslo on March 27, 2014. This was the first time the show was performed in Scandinavia. The Production was performed by the Musical Theatre Company called BærMuDa. It was directed and coreographed by Christer Tornell and Nina Lill Svendsen. It was a limited run and closed April 5, 2014

2014 Norwegian Cast[edit]

  • Lars Arne Rinde as Daryll Van Horne
  • Cecilie Due as Alexandra Spofford
  • Kristin Rinde Sunde as Jane Smart
  • Marianne Snekkestad as Sukie Rougemont
  • Monica Berg Ludvigsen as Felicia Gabriel
  • Brynjar Lilleheim as Clyde Gabriel
  • Ida Rinde Sunde as Jennifer Gabriel
  • Christian Ranke as Michael Spofford
  • Håkon Steinsholt as Fidel
  • Sine Helene Strømbeg as Little Girl


Other Productions[edit]

The Ogunquit Playhouse will stage the American Northeast premiere of The Witches of Eastwick September 3-27 at the historic southern Maine theatre. The creative team is revisiting the material and will make a number of changes. A new song for Darryl and Alexandra will replace "Your Wildest Dreams" and the number "I Love a Little Town" will be re-instated.

Readings and amateur productions[edit]

Prior to opening in London, a reading was held in New York on 5 March 1999 starring lyricist John Dempsey as Darryl van Horne with Sandy Duncan, Ruthie Henshall and Jacquelyn Piro as the three witches. In 2003 a staged reading took place at the Manhattan Theater Club under the direction of Gabriel Barre, starring James Barbour, Emily Skinner, Carolee Carmello and Jennifer Laura Thompson.

The show received its amateur premiere in Australia in July 2005. Over a dozen licensed productions followed in the UK and Ireland. The license was withdrawn due to the 2008 UK tour, with a single amateur company (Epsom Light Opera Company) being permitted to stage a concurrent production in October 2008.

The show is to be performed at The Stratford Circus, in June, by Trinity Laban Musical Theatre Students.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Setting: the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick

Act I

A little girl sings the praises of her little town of Eastwick, Rhode Island ("Eastwick Knows"). She is quickly interrupted and overpowered by the rest of its inhabitants who describe Eastwick as a town where everyone looks through their curtains at everyone else and where gossip is more powerful than the truth. A forced parade led by and honouring self-appointed First Lady of Eastwick, Felicia Gabriel, overtakes proceedings but as she is about to receive her prize a freak thunderstorm forces everyone to run home.

Alexandra (Alex), Jane and Sukie, the three Witches, have retreated to Alex’s living room for peanut butter brownies, martinis and begin to complain. They talk about their boredom with their current relationships which include casual sex, abstinence and Sukie’s affair with Felicia’s husband, Clyde. Alex’s son, Michael, enters with his girlfriend, Jennifer, who also happens to be Felicia’s daughter. The teenagers are disgustingly in love with each other and the Witches, seeing how happy they are, sing about the kind of man they would like in their lives ("Make Him Mine").

In Felicia’s kitchen, Felicia and Clyde show how truly unhappy they are and how Felicia is determined to keep her public face on their relationship. The phone rings; a man from New York has arrived and bought the deserted Lenox Mansion and is tearing down the trees in his backyard. Felicia, being the considerate soul she is, thinks of the snowy egrets that will lose their homes and decides to rally the town to stop him. Arriving at Lenox Mansion, Darryl Van Horne emerges from a puff of smoke and begins to charm all the residents except Felicia ("I Love A Little Town"). The "Eastwick Preservation Society" banner explodes in a fireball and everyone flees.

Darryl meets Alexandra on the beach where she is sculpting in the sand. Embarrassed, she allows Darryl to take her back to his house. They discuss sculpture and Darryl begins his seduction ("Eye of the Beholder"). Gossip begins to work its way round the town and Darryl goes to Jane’s studio where she is playing the cello. They discuss music and have a wild and sexual cello/violin duet which ends in the cello playing by itself and a massive musical and actual orgasm ("Waiting For The Music To Begin").

Clyde promises Sukie that he will leave Felicia but she enters with Jennifer and catches the two of them. Their excuse is that they're preparing research on Darryl and Lenox Mansion. When Sukie returns home Darryl is waiting for her. Darryl gets Sukie to break out of her introverted shell and talk to him ("Words, Words, Words"). Instead of sleeping with her, he invites her to a tennis game. It’s only when Sukie arrives and sees Alex and Jane that all three realise that Darryl has been sleeping with all of them. He serves a ball which explodes in mid-air and says that he’s the man they prayed for.

Michael and Jennifer meet and sing their puppy-love duet ("Something") while the rest of the town meet to do laundry and gossip about Darryl and his conquests ("Dirty Laundry"). During the number, Felicia, to her horror, discovers Jennifer kissing Michael and immediately sends her away from Eastwick.

Alex, Jane and Sukie enter, each wearing a stunning sexy dress singing about their childhood insecurities ("I Wish I May"). Darryl sweet talks the women and teaches them how to curse Felicia by throwing things into an enchanted cookie jar. They throw a tennis ball, a bracelet and some feathers into the jar and immediately, Felicia starts to throw up…a tennis ball, a bracelet and some feathers. Enchanted, the Witches turn to Darryl who tells them to close their eyes and suddenly they are flying high above the audience.

Act II

Darryl invites Alex to Mexican Night at his house and she reflects on her single-minded pursuit ("Another Night At Darryl’s"). At Nemo’s Diner, Darryl bumps into Felicia and Clyde. He taunts her and she vomits a cherry pit. Seeing that Eastwick’s men have no idea how to please their women Darryl teaches the town about how to have real sex ("Dance With The Devil").

The Witches go to Darryl’s in coats and take them off to reveal matching lingerie. Just as they are about to have sex, Darryl’s manservant, Fidel, delivers a letter from The Eastwick Preservation Society that says they are suing him for filling in the wetlands. In revenge, all four start throwing anything they can find into the cookie jar. In Felicia’s kitchen, we see the result as she screams at the still bewitched Clyde ("Evil"). Eventually, she can no longer cope with the curse and tells Clyde to do something so he hits her with a frying pan. Suddenly free of Felicia he shouts that he’s finally happy. However, with her dying breath, Felicia pulls Clyde’s tie into the waste disposal unit and turns it on.

The Witches start to avoid Darryl. When they return to Lenox Mansion, they tell Darryl that he has taken it too far. Furious, he screams at them but they run away and Darryl swears revenge. On the beach, Sukie bumps into the now orphaned Jennifer. She tries to offer advice but can’t find the words ("Loose Ends"). Darryl enters once Sukie leaves and begins to seduce Jennifer. He tricks her into marrying him and this news prompts the Witches to send Darryl back where he belongs.

Before the wedding Darryl leads the town in singing the praises of himself ("The Glory of Me"). The wedding begins but the Witches appear and, using a voodoo doll of Darryl they begin attacking him ("The Wedding"). Vowing revenge, Darryl is thrown back to Hell in a fireball and the church collapses. Michael and Jennifer are reunited ("Something" Reprise) and the Witches realise the error of their ways ("Look At Me").

Musical numbers[edit]

London (as of closing night - 27 October 2001)[edit]

Cut Songs
  • Before the Night (cut in previews)
  • What about the Egrets? (cut in previews)
  • What Everyone Woman Wants (cut in previews)
  • Who's the Man? (cut when the show moved from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to the Prince of Wales Theatre, replaced with 'The Glory of Me')
  • Loose Ends (cut during previews in Australia in 2002, as well as all subsequent amateur productions)

US Premiere Production[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2001 Olivier Awards:

  • Best New Musical (nomination)
  • Best Actress in a Musical - Joanna Riding (nomination)
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Musical - Rosemary Ashe (nomination)
  • Best Lighting Design (nomination)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Archives, 'The Witches of Eastwick' albemarle-london.com, accessed July 24, 2010
  2. ^ Thomson, Helen."McDermott leads a devilish dance", theage.com, August 26, 2002]
  3. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Is a U.S. Run of Witches of Eastwick Brewing?", playbill.com, March 13, 2003
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth.Witches of Eastwick—Skinner, Noll & Donovan—Sing in Revised U.S. Staging of Onetime London Musical" Playbill, June 15, 2007
  5. ^ Marks, Peter. "'The Witches' of Shirlington;Retooled Musical Gets Another Chance To Fly at Signature", The Washington Post, June 10, 2007
  6. ^ Marks, Peter. The Washington Post, "'Witches of Eastwick' Spells Wicked Fun", June 19, 2007, p. C1
  7. ^ Shubow, Charles. "Wicked 'Witches of Eastwick' at Signature Theatre", June 22, 2007
  8. ^ Alenier, Karren L. "The Witches of Eastwick" culturevulture.net, June 17, 2007
  9. ^ Berlin, Susan. "The Witches of Eastwick", talkinbroadway.com, 2007

External links[edit]