Signature Theatre announces a private reading of the new musical Big Country. With a book by Emily Mann (Execution of Justice, Having Our Say), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Triumph of Love, Jelly’s Last Jam) and music by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden, Doctor Zhivago), Big Country is based on the novel Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf and directed by Victoria Clark (Classic Stage Company’s Dance of Death, Barrow Group’s Scaffolding) with music direction by Deborah Abramson (Broadway’s Matilda, Spring Awakening). The reading stars LaChanze (Broadway’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, The Color Purple) as Addie Moore and Terrence Mann (Broadway’s Tuck Everlasting, Pippin) as Louis Waters. The reading on June 11 is closed to the public.
One morning, in the fictional small town of Holt, Colorado, widow Addie Moore poses an unexpected question to her neighbor, widower Louis Waters, which triggers an unconventional arrangement that turns into a deep friendship and passionate love affair. However, their happiness is threatened by a prejudiced town and Addie’s troubled and disapproving son. Ultimately, Addie has to choose between the family she already has and the new family she longs for.
Located in the Central High Plains with vast expanse of sky and land, Holt suffers from a cataclysmic drought. In the end, a raging wildfire, a missing child, and the specter of death bring out a basic humanity in unexpected places and unite a divided community.
This American story features a score melding classic American genres (bluegrass, country, folk, and rock) with wit, humor and humanity.
“We feel that the characters from Kent Haruf’s work provide fascinating and fertile examples of modern Americans:” said the creative team, “Two people of a certain age who have already lived long enough to know who they are and yet are still hungry for love and connection; people who are threatened by climate change and political change; and families and neighbors who struggle with loss, pain, discord, and lack of communication. We see these survivors problem-solve in real time, we hear the music of a quintessential American landscape, and we know we’re seeing a show about our country. We’re so honored and fortunate to have this opportunity from Signature Theatre to continue developing Big Country with our incredible cast led by LaChance and Terrence Mann. We look forward to taking the insights from this process at Signature and to bringing them to the stage, where we can share Big Country with audiences!”
In addition to the aforementioned LaChanze and Terrence Mann, the full cast includes Joe Cassidy (Broadway’s Waitress, If/Then), Christian Douglas (Signature’s Midnight at The Never Get, Gun & Powder), Clifton Duncan (Broadway’s The Play that Goes Wrong, The Public Theatre’s The Good Person of Szechwan), Andrea Jones-Sojola (Classic Stage Company’s Carmen Jones, City Center Encores! Brigadoon), Megan Loomis (National Tour of Wicked, Classic Stage Company’s Allegro), David M. Lutken (Broadway’s Inherit the Wind, devisor/performer of Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie), newcomer Brayden Morgan, Alanna Saunders (Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Barrington Stage Company’s Pirates of Penzance), Thom Sesma (Broadway’s The Lion King, Signature’s Miss Saigon), Arigon Starr (creator/performer of The Red Road, Showtime’s Barbershop: The Series), and Andrew Teirstein (composer of The Vagabonds, Papushko). Jordan Barrow (TV’s Pose, America V 2.1 Barrington Stage) is the Assistant Director, the Stage Manager is Kerry Epstein (Signature’s After Midnight, Simply Sondheim) and music preparation was done by Andrew Gerle (Meet John Doe, Gloryana).
New Work at Signature Theatre is sponsored by Dan and Gloria Logan.