Last November, I caught the exquisite production of the New York Premiere of Giant at The Public Theater, a co-production with Dallas Theater Center, starring Brian d’Arcy James as Texas cattleman Bick Benedict, Kate Baldwin as his socialite wife Leslie Benedict, P.J. Griffith as young oil tycoon Jett Rink, Raul Aranas as Polo and Katie Thompson as Vashti. Helmed by Michael Grief, Giant features music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, and a book by Sybille Pearson, based on the novel by Edna Ferber, with choreography by Alex Sanchez.
I was thrilled to hear the divine Katie Thompson’s rendition of “He Wanted A Girl,” with music and lyrics by Michael John LaChuisa, at the 58th annual Drama Desk Awards ceremony at Town Hall on May 19, 2013. At the after party at the Liberty Theatre, I chatted with Giant composer Michael John LaChuisa, and castmembers Katie Thompson and Isabel Santiago, who shared that the Ghostlight Records release of Giant’s Original Cast Recording is available online and in stores.
To pre-order the album, visit www.sh-k-boom.com/giant.html.
The two-disc cast album – produced by Kurt Deutsch, Joel Moss and Michael John LaChiusa – includes a 44 page, full-color booklet with the entire libretto and liner notes by Oskar Eustis, The Public Theater’s Artistic Director. GIANT boasts a company of 26 actors, a 17-piece orchestra, and lush orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, with additional orchestrations by Larry Hochman.
The complete cast of Giant features Enrique Acevedo (Ensemble); Raul Aranas (Polo); Mary Bacon (Adarene, Mrs. Lynnton); Kate Baldwin (Leslie); Miguel Cervantes (Angel); Natalie Cortez (Juana); Rocio Del MarValles (Analita); John Dossett (Bawley); Jon Fletcher (Bobby Jr., Bobby Sr.); P.J. Griffith (Jett); Michael Halling (Lord Karfrey, Lynnton); Brian d’Arcy James (Bick); Mackenzie Mauzy (Lil Luz); Doreen Montalvo (Lupe); Michele Pawk(Luz); Allison Rogers (Heidi, Lady Karfrey); Isabel Santiago (Ensemble); Martin Sola (DiModeo); Bobby Steggert (Jordy Jr.); Matthew Stocke (Mike); Katie Thompson (Vashti); and William Youmans (Pinkie).
This recording marks The Public’s fourth album in collaboration with Ghostlight Records, including the previously released Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Hair, and See What I Wanna See. This is also the label’s fifth album with Michael John LaChiusa (Queen of the Mist, See What I Wanna See, Bernarda Alba, and Little Fish). The GIANT original cast recording has been supported by the Shen Family Foundation. TheaterMania.com, a sponsor of the recording, is presenting exclusive online content featuring a documentary which chronicles the story of Giant against the backdrop of the cast album recording sessions, also including interviews with the cast and creative team.
The Wall Street Journal raved “Giant is the most important new musical to come along since The Light in the Piazza. It’s a show of immense and fully realized promise. LaChiusa is one of the most prodigiously gifted musical-theater songwriters since Stephen Sondheim.”
The Public Theater has a long history of producing new musicals, and is the only theater in New York City that presents Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, new works, and experimental theater in equal measure. Giant is a new American musical that spans generations in an epic chronicle of the state that’s like no place else on earth: Texas. Amid a turbulent culture of greed, bigotry and money, a powerful cattleman, his new East Coast bride, their family and friends – not to mention their enemies – embrace and confront the joys and sorrows that loom as large as the state they call home.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. This summer she will appear as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Penwah, July 30-August 1, 2013.
Other Articles by Lia Chang
Lorey Hayes’ Power Play Set for National Black Theatre Festival 7/30-8/1
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 29 and May 6
Raul Aranas, Kate Baldwin, Brian d’Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Bobby Steggert and Michele Pawk Set for New York Premiere of GIANT at The Public Theater, October 26-December 2, 2012
Theater of the Stars Presents The King and I Starring Ronobir Lahiri, Victoria Mallory, Raul Aranas, Ali Ewoldt, Josh Dela Cruz, Jee Hyun Lim and Raphael Aranas, Helmed by Baayork Lee on Tour through September 11, 2012
Here Lies Love, Starring Jose Llana and Ruthie Ann Miles, Extends at The Public through July 28, 2013
Two-Time Tony Nominee André De Shields, Nehal Joshi, Akash Chopra and More Set for Mary Zimmerman helmed The Jungle Book at The Goodman, 6/21-8/4 and The Huntington, 9/7-10/6
Jeanne Sakata’s critically-acclaimed play Hold These Truths, starring 2013 Drama Desk Award Nominee Joel de la Fuente, is set for the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival at Culture Project, 6/4, 6/10 and 6/11
Photos: Working Theater’s World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Photos: Maurice Hines, Jonathan Groff, Mercedes Ellington, Charles Randolph Wright at The Beechman for André De Shields’s I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins Set for Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child
Tony Award Winner Tonya Pinkins Celebrates Ethel Waters at 54 Below on August 27, 2012
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
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