The Parish Theatre, in association with The Civic Theatre, is bringing the very popular musical “Grey Gardens” to Kalamazoo. The show, which won Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical and Best Costume Design, is fresh off a sold-out opening night and will continue its run this evening.
Directed by Arthur Nemitz, “Grey Gardens” is an adaptation of the 1975 documentary of the same name, which centered around the lives of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (also known as “Big Edie”) and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (“Little Edie”) who are the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, respectively.
“It’s probably one of the best musicals written during the last few years,” Nemitz said.
The first act depicts the two characters in 1941 and the second act is set in 1973. Gina-Maria Chimner will be playing Big Edie in act one and Little Edie in act two, mirroring what actress Christine Ebersole did in the show in both its on and off-Broadway incarnations. Miriam Bat-ami, meanwhile, will portray Big Edie in act two.
Nemitz said that the characters lived in a high society on the East Coast in a dilapidated old mansion. The story makes the audience ask questions like “How did they end up like this?”
The show is filled with fascinating characters and the people in the roles are extremely talented. In addition, the orchestra for the show includes at least 10 instrumentalists including some that play more than one instrument.
“It calls for a great skill in performance, but really a great skill in singing,” Nemitz said.
“Grey Gardens” runs Jan. 18, 19, 25, 26, Feb. 1, and 2 at 8 p.m., Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 at 2 p.m., but the show is so popular that the first weekend of performances is already sold out. Tickets can be purchased at the Civic box office, online at www.kazoocivic.org or by calling 269-343-1313.