11th Hour Theatre Company brings its consistently sold out concert series back home and as the series begins its 2018-2019 season it has grown. 11th Hour’s Next Step Concert Series is now set to run over two weekends. They begin their season with a concert performance of Grey Gardens. Grey Gardens features Music by Scott Frankel, Lyrics by Michael Korie and a Book by Doug Wright. 11th Hour Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director and Co-Founder Steve Pacek directs. Amanda Morton is the Music Director. Grey Gardens runs October 6-14. The official Media Opening is Sunday, October 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $36 (which includes a $4 service fee). $19 tickets are available online for Students and Industry. Tickets are available online at www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org or by phone 267-987-9865. All performances will take place at The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street.
“Next Step has become such an important part of our programming and our audiences have really taken to them! I’m excited to give people more of what they want,” said Steve Pacek. “I also really love that we are giving another week of work to our artists.”
Based on the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. This TONY Award nominee, is the tale of once bright names on the social register who became East Hampton’s most notorious recluse cat ladies. Grey Gardens begins at the grand 1941 engagement party of stunning and spirited “Little Edie” Beale to handsome Navy man Joe Kennedy, Jr., hosted by Edie’s mother, Edith Bouvier Beale. As the upper-crust, New England family gathers, so do the storm clouds of trouble that eventually leave both “Big” and “Little” Edie alone and heartbroken. The second act launches the narrative into the overgrown, cat-riddled, and bug-infested estate in 1973, where the two Edies live, alone. “Big Edie” is now bedridden, and “Little Edie” grows more eccentric by the day, haunted by dreams of love and success, long since dashed. Weaving documentary text with imaginative speculation, the musical documents the journey of the Beales from royalty to ruin. With a diverse musical songbook, including Tin Pan Alley jigs and soaring ballads, Grey Gardens is a unique tapestry of lost dreams, sacrifice, and unstoppable hope– heartfelt, witty, and compassionate.
The cast of Grey Gardens includes: Lindsie VanWinkle-Guthrie as Edith Bouvier Beale/”Little” Edie Beale. Kristin Devine as “Little” Edie Beale, Larry Lees as George Gould Strong, Charles Gilbert as J.V. “Major” Bouvier/Norman Vincent Peale, Nichalas Parker as Brooks, Sr./Brooks, Jr., Sam Krivda as Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr./Jerry, D’Arcy Webb as “Big” Edie Beale, Alexandra Voelmle as Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier, and Leah Senseney as Lee Bouvier. Cara Lisa Franz is the Stage Manager.
“When I watched the original documentary, I was both fascinated and horrified. Like a gaper delay at a highway accident. This surely couldn’t be real?! But it was. Which compelled me even more! As the song in the show says, ‘the girl who has everything’ could also lose it all. It’s a cautionary tale. A modern-day Brothers Grimm… That’s Act II. And then Act I is a whole other story (the prequel to the documentary). Same characters, but at a totally different time in their lives, when they were on top of the world. They were relatives of Jackie O and the creme de la crème,” said the show’s director Pacek. “And in thinking about the Next Step season for 11th Hour, this totally fits the bill for ‘seldom seen’ musicals. Not sure why it doesn’t get produced as much. The score is fantastic! And the story (or at least the characters) are recognizable from US history.”
Saturday, October 6 @ 8pm
Sunday, October 7 @ 2pm
Sunday, October 7 @ 7pm
Thursday, October 11 @ 7pm
Friday, October 12 @ 8pm
Saturday, October 13 @ 8pm
Sunday, October 14 @ 2pm
Background on Grey Gardens
Grey Gardens opened Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 2006. It starred Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson, and John McMartin. While Off-Broadway, 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.
It transferred, with revisions, to Broadway on November 2, 2006 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. It closed after 307 performances and 33 previews. Grey Gardens received 10 TONY Award nominations when it premiered on Broadway in 2006. It won three, including awards for both Ebersole and Wilson in leading and featured actress categories, respectively.
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, and was later shown on PBS stations.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times said of that, “Grey Gardens is … an experience no passionate theatregoer should miss.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, “Grey Gardens is more than a unique and unmissable musical: it’s a gift!” David Rooney of Variety said, “This spellbinding account of American fallen royalty is as boldly odd, original and beguiling as its subjects.”
Background on The Next Step Concert Series
With the Next Step Concert Series, 11th Hour brings concert versions of musicals to the stage featuring a live band and excellent lighting and sound design. The series is intimate, spontaneous and inventive – everything audiences have come to expect from 11th Hour. Musicals are stripped down to their very essence…good storytelling and incredible music.
About 11th Hour Theatre Company
11th Hour Theatre Company is the only company in Philadelphia dedicated to producing all musicals, all the time. Intimate by design, 11th Hour creates a lasting experience with the audience by producing character-driven musical theatre.
11th Hour produces a broad spectrum of musicals that fill a niche in the diverse Philadelphia theatre landscape: musicals that spark the creativity of artists and the imaginations of audiences. Over the past eleven seasons, they have produced seventeen full-scale musicals, nine of which were Philadelphia premieres. In addition to the World Premiere of their first commission, Field Hockey Hot, the company has contributed to the development of several new musicals beginning with Angst, a ten-minute musical that premiered in the Spark Festival of 2005. 11th Hour produced the American premiere of Austentatious that went on to success at the New York Musical Theatre Festival; and a 29-hour reading of Fantasy Football, the Musical? before its production at New York University. Both Austentatious and Fantasy Football have since been published and are now professionally licensed. In the fall of 2014, 11th Hour partnered with University of the Arts to workshop Persephone Unplugged, a new twist on the classic Greek myth. With support from the Independence Foundation, 11th Hour recently commissioned their second musical from a local writing team, a Civil War-themed project currently titled Something Like a War.
11th Hour has received a total of 55 Barrymore Award nominations. Their work has been recognized with 15 awards, including five recently for Lizzie (including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical), and several individual awards for their artists. Founding member Steve Pacek was also the proud recipient of the 2012 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist. In 2013, 11th Hour became the first-ever recipient of the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theater.