Elegies (William Finn)

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Elegies is a song cycle by William Finn about the deaths of friends and family and is a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Elegies premiered at Lincoln Center in 2003 and has been performed in many other venues.


The song cycle premiered at Lincoln Center, the Newhouse Theater (New York City), running from March 9, 2003 to April 19, 2003.[1] Directed by Graciela Daniele, the cast starred Christian Borle, Betty Buckley, Carolee Carmello, Keith Byron Kirk, and Michael Rupert.[2] The production was recorded nearly complete and released on compact disc by Fynsworth Alley (distributed through Varèse Sarabande).[3]


Most of the songs were composed in memory of Finn's friends, several of whom died of AIDS. Three songs deal specifically with the passing of his mother, Barbara Finn. The final set of songs deal with the collapse of the World Trade Center and its emotional aftermath. In a review of a regional production in 2004, the reviewer wrote: "Never morbid, Elegies is touching, funny, and ultimately buoyant; floating on the spirits of those who inhabit its songs. Consisting of eighteen diverse musical moments, the styles and tones range throughout the musical from the unabashedly optimistic -- "Life has infinite, infinite joys!" -- to the hilariously irreverent."[4]

Musical numbers[edit]

  • Looking Up Quintet
  • Mister Choi & Madame G
  • Mark's All-Male Thanksgiving
  • Only One
  • Joe Papp
  • Peggy Hewitt & Mysty del Giorno
  • Passover
  • Infinite Joy
  • The Ballad of Jack Eric Williams (and other 3-named composers)
  • Fred
  • Dear Reader
  • Monica & Mark
  • Anytime (I Am There)
  • My Dogs
  • Venice
  • 14 Dwight Ave., Natick, Massachusetts
  • When the Earth Stopped Turning
  • Goodbye
  • Boom Boom
  • Looking Up
  • Goodbye (Finale)

Main characters represented[edit]

Notable productions[edit]

Uk Premiere

The cast included

Boston Premiere by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, Massachusetts - May 7–29, 2004[6]


  • Kerry Dowling
  • Michael Mendiola
  • Jose Delgado
  • Will McGarrahan
  • Leigh Barrett

Directed by Paul Daigneault, Musical Direction by Paul S. Katz, Production Stage Management by Dana Elizabeth Wolf,

Toronto Premiere by Acting Up Stage Theatre Company at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto, Ontario - February 15 - March 4, 2007[7]


Directed by Lezlie Wade, Musical Direction by Wayne Gwillim, Produced by Mitchell Marcus, Stage Managed by Dot Routledge.

New York City Benefit Production, August 16, 2010[8]


Directed by Michael Rader, Musical Direction by Eddie Guttman, Produced by Jamie McGonnigal, Stage Managed by David Beris.


  1. ^ Elegies A Song Cycle Listing" lct.org, accessed November 6, 2013
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Theater Review: Departed Friends Vibrantly Recalled in Song" Archived January 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times (webcache.googleusercontent.com), March 28, 2003
  3. ^ Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: Legrand's 'Amour', Finn's 'Elegies' and Cook's Sondheim" playbill.com, July 27, 2003
  4. ^ See, Rick."A CurtainUp DC Review. 'Elegies' " curtainup.com, March 28, 2004
  5. ^ Shenton, Mark. Review thestage.co.uk, 11 November 2004
  6. ^ Bixby, Suzanne. "Review" talkinbroadway.com, accessed November 7, 2013
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Casting Announced for Toronto Debut of Finn's Elegies'" playbill.com, January 15, 2007
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew. Darius de Haas and Kerry O'Malley Set for Benefit Concert of William Finn's 'Elegies'" playbill.com, August 3, 2010


External links[edit]