Dallas Theater Center’s Giant, a co-production with The Public Theater, opens tonight at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and has performances through February 19, 2012. Tony Award-nominated Michael Greif directs this new musical by Sybille Pearson and Michael John LaChiusa, which began preview performances on January 18, 2012.
“Edna Ferber’s niece came to me several years ago about writing the musical version of Giant,” says composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa. “It wasn’t until I was commissioned to write something for the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia that I moved forward with the project. Now we have this beautiful love story with a universality and a truth that I hope will capture the imaginations of audiences in Texas and all over the country.”
Aaron Lazar, who has appeared in seven Broadway productions including A Tale of Two Cities, Impressionism, The Light in the Piazza, and the recent revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, stars as Texas cattleman Bick Benedict. Lazar was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the revival of Les Miserables and can now be seen in Clint Eastwood’s film J. Edgar. Kate Baldwin, a Tony Award nominee for Finian’s Rainbow, plays his socialite wife Leslie. Baldwin has appeared on Broadway in The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wonderful Town, and has performed at theaters across the country.
P.J. Griffith, who recently starred in the original Broadway production of American Idiot and is the lead vocalist for the band Blue Movie, portrays young oil tycoon Jett Rink. New York stage veteran Raul Aranas, who has appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, The King and I, Loose Ends and Flower Drum Song, plays Polo. Aranas is fresh from starring as The Engineer in the Ogunquit Playhouse production of Miss Saigon, and during his stint as The Engineer in the 1st National Company, he received a Helen Hayes Award, the Carbonell Award and a Jefferson Award Nomination. His turn as The Reciter in the North Shore Theatre production of Pacific Overtures, garnered him an Irne Award.He has appeared in the films Burn After Reading, Afterwards, Buzzkill, JFK, Company Man, and on television on “Law And Order,” “Gideon Oliver,” “One Life To Live,” and “Bluebloods.”
“We have assembled an extraordinarily talented cast for this new production in Dallas,” says director Michael Greif. “And the excitement that we all feel for sharing this great Texas story with Texas audiences is palpable.”
Also featured in the cast of Giant are Mary Bacon as Adarene and Mrs. Lyntonn; Miguel Cervantes as Angel, Jr. and Angel, Sr.; Natalie Cortez as Juana; Rocio Del Mar Valles as Analita; John Dossett as Bawley; Matt Doyle as Jordy, Jr.; Andrea Green as Lil Luz; Jason Hite as Bobby, Jr.; Dee Hoty as Luz; Doreen Montalvo as Lupe; Martin Sola as Dimodeo; Matthew Stocke as Mike; Katie Thompson as Vashti and William Youmans as Pinkie. Ensemble members include: Enrique Acevado, Michael Halling, Allison Rogers and Isabel Santiago.
Giant is an epic love story set in the Lone Star State that spans generations. Bick Benedict is the heir apparent to the largest ranch in Texas, Reata. When he falls in love with a Virginia girl, Leslie, and brings her home, complications ensue as Leslie learns to cope with a new land and culture, and Bick tries to cope with a changing country and changing times. Jett Rink, represents a new age in Texas – oil. The struggles between the cattle ranger’s way of life and the drilling for oil, hostilities between whites and Mexicans, exploitation of the land and the desire to preserve it, the challenge of adapting to a changing world versus clinging to traditional values—Bick, Leslie, their children, and all those they know and encounter must face these challenges.
Three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Grey Gardens, Next to Normal) helms Giant, the sprawling, epic love story with larger-than-life characters and Texas-size musical numbers, written by Michael John LaChiusa (music and lyrics) and Sybille Pearson, and based on the classic novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Ferber.
The design team includes costume designer Jeff Mashie, who also worked with Greif on the Broadway and touring productions of Next to Normal, set designer Allen Moyer (Grey Gardens, Twelve Angry Men), lighting designer Ken Posner (Catch Me if You Can), sound designer Brian Ronan (The Book of Mormon, American Idiot) and choreographer Alex Sanchez.
Tickets for Giant start at $15 (maximum ticket prices vary by performance) and are available online at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org or by phone at 214-880-0202.
All performances of Giant will be held at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center located at 2400 Flora St., where it runs Jan. 18 – Feb. 19. Performance times are Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 16 at 2:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; and select Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
DTC thanks the production sponsors for their generous support of Giant. Title Sponsor is Pioneer Natural Resources. Commissioning Sponsors are Lyn and John Muse. Premiere Sponsor is JP Morgan Chase Foundation. Presenting Sponsors are Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty; Embrey Family Foundation; and VARI*LITE®. Executive Producing Partner is Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Assistant Producing Partners are Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; HYATT house; and PwC. Additional support provided by Kimberley and Scott Sheffield.
ABOUT DALLAS THEATER CENTER:
One of the leading regional theaters in the country, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 90,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas. DTC also presents productions at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Heather Kitchen, DTC produces a seven-play subscription series of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including Project Discovery, Summer Stage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and community outreach efforts including leading the DFW Foote Festival and recent collaborations with the Dallas Public Library, Dallas Holocaust Museum, North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Opera, and Dallas Black Dance Theater. Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978, Adrian Hall’s All the King’s Men in 1986, and recent premieres of The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor, the revised It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Give it Up! (now titled Lysistrata Jones and recently on Broadway) by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, Sarah Plain and Tall by Julia Jordan, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson.
Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Aaron Lazar, Kate Baldwin, P.J. Griffith, Raul Aranas Set for the Dallas Theater Center/Public Theater Co-Production of Giant at the Wyly Theatre, January 18 – February 19, 2012
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