Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens

     
 
Directors David Maysles and Albert Maysles' 1976 film documentary Grey Gardens examined the squalid lives of Edith Bouvier Beale, then in her late seventies, and her daughter, "Little" Edie Beale, then in her mid-fifties, as the two lived together in a decaying mansion on Long Island. The Beales

Overview

Directors David Maysles and Albert Maysles' 1976 film documentary Grey Gardens examined the squalid lives of Edith Bouvier Beale, then in her late seventies, and her daughter, "Little" Edie Beale, then in her mid-fifties, as the two lived together in a decaying mansion on Long Island. The Beales were, respectively, an aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and had lived lives of wealth and high society before descending into a reclusive existence. The musical adaptation of Grey Gardens, with a libretto by Doug Wright and songs by composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie, spends only its second act in the 1970s, after a first act set in 1941 that compresses the crises of the Beales' lives (the mother's breakup with her husband, the daughter's breakup with her fiancé, Joseph Kennedy, Jr.) into a single afternoon. The use of the two time periods allows Frankel and Korie to write two different styles of songs. In their telling, the mother is a singer planning a concert at her daughter's engagement party, and so they write a group of pastiche songs that sound like they come from the interwar period, heavily influenced by Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. Then, when they switch to the 1970s, their songs are imbued with the minor-key melodies and sharp lyrical edges of Stephen Sondheim. Both styles are well executed musically, although Korie might have done more historical research to get the anachronisms out of his words. (One example: in 1941, Edie says to Edith that "Peas in a Pod" is "the very first song you ever taught me," which should place it back in the 1920s, but the lyrics contain a reference to the cinematic comedy team of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, which did not come into existence until 1940.) Best of all is the casting of Christine Ebersole, who plays the mother in the first act and the daughter in the second, although the lesser parts played by Mary Louise Wilson (as the mother in the second act) and John McMartin (as Edith's father and Edie's grandfather) are also expertly acted. When Grey Gardens opened at the Playwrights Horizons theater company in New York City on March 7, 2006, it was hailed by many as the best off-Broadway musical of the 2005-2006 season, and a transfer to Broadway was arranged for the fall. The cast recording, released during the summer, tended to confirm the judgment of the theater critics, indicating that it would be the show to beat as the best Broadway musical production of the 2006-2007 season.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Stephen Holden
The songs from "Grey Gardens"...sustain a level of refined language and psychological detail as elevated as Stephen Sondheim’s.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2006
Label:
P.S. Classics
UPC:
0803607064228
catalogNumber:
642
Rank:
14496

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Prologue. Toyland
  2. Act 1. The Five-Fifteen
  3. Act 1. Body Beautiful Beale
  4. Act 1. Mother Darling
  5. Act 1. Better Fall Out of Love
  6. Act 1. Being Bouvier
  7. Act 1. Hominy Grits
  8. Act 1. Peas in a Pod
  9. Act 1. Drift Away
  10. Act 1. The Five-Fifteen (reprise) / Miss Porter's Anthem
  11. Act 1. Tomorrow's Woman
  12. Act 1. Daddy's Girl
  13. Act 1. Will You
  14. Act 2. The Revolutionary Costume for Today
  15. Act 2. The Cake I Had
  16. Act 2. Entering Grey Gardens
  17. Act 2. The House We Live In
  18. Act 2. Jerry Likes My Corn
  19. Act 2. Around the World
  20. Act 2. Choose to Be Happy
  21. Act 2. Around the World (reprise)
  22. Act 2. Another Winter in a Summer Town
  23. Act 2. Peas in a Pod (reprise)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lawrence Yurman   Conductor
Christine Ebersole   Vocals
Mary Louise Defender Wilson   Vocals
Sarah Hyland   Vocals
Eric Weidman   Track Performer
Bob Stillman   Vocals
John McMartin   Vocals
Sara Gettelfinger   Vocals
Matt Cavenaugh   Vocals
Daniel Urness   Track Performer
Mary Louise Wilson   Vocals
Audrey Twitchell   Vocals
Harry Hassell   Track Performer
Michael Potts   Vocals
Grey Gardens Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Grey Gardens Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Philip Chaffin   Executive Producer
Tommy Krasker   Producer
Tom Lazarus   Engineer
Doug Wright   Librettist,Liner Notes
Scott Frankel   Composer
Doug Wright   Librettist,Liner Notes
Michael Korie   Lyricist,Liner Notes
Tim Sanford   Liner Notes
John Costa   Art Direction

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