Dessa Rose

Dessa Rose

by Original Off-Broadway Cast
     
 

Lyricist/librettist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty's musical Dessa Rose is in some ways reminiscent of their stage adaptation of Ragtime in that it tells interweaving stories of black and white Americans and their confrontation with racism. Nominally speaking, Ragtime was the larger scale work, encompassing a huge cast, playing in a…  See more details below

Overview

Lyricist/librettist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty's musical Dessa Rose is in some ways reminiscent of their stage adaptation of Ragtime in that it tells interweaving stories of black and white Americans and their confrontation with racism. Nominally speaking, Ragtime was the larger scale work, encompassing a huge cast, playing in a Broadway theater, and also taking on the immigrant experience in America. But Dessa Rose, which opened at the off-Broadway Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York's Lincoln Center on March 21, 2005, and ran through May 29, is described by annotator Ira Weitzman as a "folk opera", the term originally coined for Porgy and Bess, and this two-hour, full-length recording of the show, dialogue included, reveals that its artistic goals are at least as lofty as those of Ragtime. In her 1986 novel, Sherley Anne Williams created a fictional story combining the lives of two real-life women living in the South during the mid-19th century, a pregnant slave girl who incited a slave rebellion and a white woman, left alone on a plantation by her profligate husband, who harbored runaway slaves. Ahrens' adaptation finds both women, in old age, retelling their story, such that leads LaChanze, as Dessa Rose, and Rachel York, as Ruth, are forced to change back and forth from their old to their young selves, sometimes in the same scene. The story is heavily melodramatic, as the saintly African-American characters and the white woman who joins them struggle against the monstrous white men who enslave them, torture them, and try to rape them. The plot strains credulity at times, but it is less important than that, by the end, the bond of sisterhood overcomes barriers of race and jealousy. Flaherty's music naturally makes much use of 19th century American popular styles, from folk songs to society waltzes, with a heavy debt to Stephen Foster. The cast is talented and enthusiastic, lending a degree of authenticity to a work that otherwise might come across as contrived.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/13/2005
Label:
Jay Records
UPC:
0605288139222
catalogNumber:
1392
Rank:
262668

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Act 1. We Are Descended
  2. Act 1. Comin' Down The Quarters
  3. Act 1. Ol' Banjar
  4. Act 1. Scene. Oh, slavery didn't do away...
  5. Act 1. Something Of My Own
  6. Act 1. Scene. Watch your step, Mr. Nehemiah...
  7. Act 1. Ink
  8. Act 1. Scene. Hey Hey... Hey Hey...
  9. Act 1. Scene. You had no call to break that
  10. Act 1. Scene. Why you kill him?...
  11. Act 1. The Gold Band
  12. Act 1. Scene. See them stars...
  13. Act 1. Little Star
  14. Act 1. Scene. Hey, pretty girl...
  15. Act 1. The Gold Band (Conclusion)
  16. Act 1. Ladies
  17. Act 1. Bertie's Waltz
  18. Act 1. At The Glen
  19. Act 1. Scene. Good afternoon, Odessa...
  20. Act 1. Scene. Observations on the famed devil Woman...
  21. Act 1. Capture The Girl
  22. Act 1. Scene. Janet? Philip?...
  23. Act 1. Scene. The people on her place...
  24. Act 1. Scene. Miss. We Was Only
  25. Act 1. Fly Away
  26. Act 1. Scene. That's the first time...
  27. Act 1. Scene. I'm sorry, Master...
  28. Act 1. Fly Away (Conclusion) / How Long Will It Be?
  29. Act 1. Dessa Rose Escapes Nehemiah
  30. Act 1. Terrible
  31. Act 1. Scene. Mmm... Hmm...
  32. Act 1. Scene. Obstinate little fool...
  33. Act 1. Their Eyes Are Clear. Blue Like Sky
  34. Act 1. Scene. This baby don't need no name
  35. Act 1. Twelve Children

Disc 2

  1. Act 2. Noah's Dove
  2. Act 2. Scene. Through talking to Nathan...
  3. Act 2. Scene. Why y'all call her Devil Woman?...
  4. Act 2. Scene. It was then I knew...
  5. Act 2. Fly Away (Reprise)
  6. Act 2. Scene. Ah, look here!...
  7. Act 2. The Scheme
  8. Act 2. Scene. Nathan thinks we might could...
  9. Act 2. Scene. Why Miz Ruth...
  10. Act 2. In The Bend Of My Arm
  11. Act 2. Scene. Miz... Nathan! Nathan...
  12. Act 2. Better If I Died
  13. Act 2. Ten Petticoats
  14. Act 2. Scene. We organized to go...
  15. Act 2. Just Over The Line
  16. Act 2. Scene. Now things was going...
  17. Act 2. A Pleasure
  18. Act 2. Scene. That Mr. Oscar is...
  19. Act 2. Scene. Not if your tongue gets loose...
  20. Act 2. Scene. I understood...
  21. Act 2. White Milk And Red Blood
  22. Act 2. Scene. They tell you about...
  23. Act 2. Scene. Anna, I swear you are as slow as molasses...
  24. Act 2. Scene. It was just like her...
  25. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. Master, master...
  26. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. S'caped...
  27. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. I don't want your money, child...
  28. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. Sheriff, this gal ain't got...
  29. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. Sheriff, I got...
  30. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. No. No! Look here...
  31. Act 2. Final Sequence. Scene. Mistress, I...
  32. Act 2. Final Sequence. Epilogue. We Are Descended
  33. Act 2. Final Sequence. Just Over The Line - Instrumental (Exit Music)

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Original Off-Broadway Cast   Primary Artist
Tina Fabrique   Vocals,Actor
William Parry   Vocals,Actor
James Stovall   Vocals,Actor
Rebecca Eichenberger   Vocals
Norm Lewis   Vocals,Actor
Rachel York   Vocals,Actor
David Hess   Vocals,Actor
David Holcenberg   Conductor
Michael Hayden   Vocals,Actor

Technical Credits

Troy Halderson   Engineer
John Yap   Executive Producer
Stephen Flaherty   Composer,Vocal Arrangements
Ira Weitzman   Liner Notes
Lynn Ahrens   Lyricist,Book,Synopsis

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