The Witches of Eastwick (musical)


The Witches of Eastwick (musical)

Infobox Musical
name = The Witches of Eastwick
subtitle =


image_size =
caption =
music = Dana P. Rowe
lyrics = John Dempsey
book = John Dempsey
basis = The Witches of Eastwick novel by John Updike
productions = 2000 West End
2002 Melbourne, Australia
2003 Moscow
2007 Czech Republic
2007 Arlington, Virginia
2008 UK Tour
awards =

"The Witches of Eastwick" is a 2000 musical based on the novel of the same name by John Updike. It was adapted by John Dempsey (lyrics and book) and Dana P. Rowe (music), directed by Eric Schaeffer, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

The story is based around three female protagonists, the Witches Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont. During the story, their magical powers grow, and they eventually summon a devil-like character, Darryl Van Horne. The mysterious Darryl seduces each of the women in turn, teaching them how to further expand their powers, and creating a scandal in the town. The women come to realise that Darryl is corrupting them and the town, and resolve to exile him from their lives.

Productions

Original London production

Starring Ian McShane in the lead role of Darryl Van Horne with Maria Friedman (Sukie), Lucie Arnaz (Alexandra) and Joanna Riding (Jane) as the three witches, the show began it's preview period in London's West End on June 24 2000 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Opening on July 18 to mixed-positive reviews, the decision was taken to transfer to the more intimate Prince of Wales Theatre from March 23, 2001. Ian McShane left and was replaced by his understudy, Earl Carpenter, whilst the physical production was revised to fit in the smaller theatre. A number of lyrics and scenes were revised and the song 'Who's the Man?' was replaced with a rousing gospel number entitled 'The Glory of Me'. A general cast change from July 1, 2001 saw Clarke Peters lead the company, with Josefina Gabrielle and Rebecca Thornhill as Alex and Sukie respectively, joining Joanna Riding who stayed with the show after receiving the Olivier Award nomination for the role. The show received generally favourable reviews with the second cast but, after a 15 month run, closed on October 27 2001, following a downturn in tourism, an after-effect of the 9/11 attacks in New York.

Australia, Russia and Czech Republic

The first international production opened in Australia at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne. Starring Paul McDermott as Darryl van Horne, with Marina Prior, Angela Toohey and Pippa Grandison as Jane, Alexandra and Sukie respectively, the show began previews on 19 August 2002. Revisions were made, including new lyrics and the excision of one number, 'Loose Ends'. However, the show never found an audience and closed on 17 November 2002. [Thomson, Helen. [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/08/26/1030053028843.html "McDermott leads a devilish dance",] theage.com, August 26 2002] ] [Jones, Kenneth. [http://web.playbill.com/news/article/78415.html "Is a U.S. Run of Witches of Eastwick Brewing?",] playbill.com, March 13, 2003]

The Russian production opened in Moscow on 12 March 2003 using new sets as well as on-stage rain and fire effects. The role of Darryl van Horne was double-cast with Dmitriy Pevtsov and Aleksey Kortnev sharing the part. Other roles were similarly played by two or three actors.Fact|date=September 2008

The premiere in the Czech Republic opened on February 2007 at the [http://www.mdb.cz/index.php?page=inscenace&id=71 Brno City Theatre] , directed by Stanislav Moša and choreographed by Igor Barberić. The show was translated into Czech by Jiří Josek and produced the first commercial recording since the Original London Cast album.

2007 U.S. premiere

The American premiere opened in previews on June 5, 2007 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, directed by Eric Schaeffer, the original director and Signature Theatre's Artistic Director. Marc Kudisch starred as Darryl Van Horne, with Jacquelyn Piro Donovan as Sukie Rougemont, Emily Skinner as Alexandra Spofford, and Christiane Noll as Jane Smart. Kudish received the Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical.

The authors made numerous changes to the show. Numbers were abbreviated (Eastwick Knows), cut (A Little Town) and added (Your Wildest Dreams). Scenes and songs were re-arranged, [Marks, Peter. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/08/AR2007060800712.html "'The Witches' of Shirlington;Retooled Musical Gets Another Chance To Fly at Signature",] "The Washington Post", June 10, 2007] and the production received positive notices. "The Washington Post" opined that "The musical adaptation has way more kick than the wispy 1987 film.... It's on the technical level that [Eric Schaeffer] 's production still has kinks to work out, for until the actresses are airborne... the mechanics look and feel clunky." [Marks, Peter. "The Washington Post", "'Witches of Eastwick' Spells Wicked Fun", June 19, 2007, p. C1] BroadwayWorld.com stated that "director Eric Schaeffer certainly pulls "The Witches of Eastwick" all together... does it ever succeed." [Shubow, Charles. [http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=19455 "Wicked 'Witches of Eastwick' at Signature Theatre",] June 22, 2007] CultureVulture.net commented that the show is "full of body-shaking thunder, raunchy behavior, and surprises. Gut reaction based on the performance seen June 17 says this show will make it to Broadway and be reasonably successful there." [Alenier, Karren L. [http://www.culturevulture.net/Theater/witchesofeastwick_6-07.htm "The Witches of Eastwick"] culturevulture.net, June 17, 2007] Talkin' Broadway wrote that the "Broadway actors... give memorable and funny performances in the four lead roles.... Choreographer Karma Camp gets a chance to show off in this production." [Berlin, Susan. [http://www.talkinbroadway.com/regional/dc/dc305.html "The Witches of Eastwick",] talkinbroadway.com, 2007]

2008 UK Tour

The first UK tour opened on August 23, 2008 at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. It stars Marti Pellow as Darryl van Horne, with Ria Jones as Alexandra, Poppy Tierney as Jane and, reprising her role from the London production, Rebecca Thornhill as Sukie. It is a new production, directed by Nikolai Foster.

Readings and amateur productions

Prior to opening in London, a reading was held in New York on 5th March 1999 starring lyricist John Dempsey as Darryl van Horne with Sandy Duncan, Ruthie Henshall and Jacquelyn Piro as the three witches. In 2003 a staged reading took place at the Manhattan Theater Club under the direction of Gabriel Barre, starring James Barbour, Emily Skinner, Carolee Carmello and Jennifer Laura Thompson.

The show received its amateur premiere in Australia in July 2005. Over a dozen licensed productions followed in the UK and Ireland. The license was withdrawn due to the 2008 UK tour, and the last UK amateur production was performed in February 2008.Fact|date=September 2008

Plot synopsis

Setting: the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick

;Act IA little girl sings the praises of her little town of Eastwick, Rhode Island ("Eastwick Knows"). She is quickly interrupted and overpowered by the rest of its inhabitants who describe Eastwick as a town where everyone looks through their curtains at everyone else and where gossip is more powerful than the truth. A forced parade led by and honouring self appointed First Lady of Eastwick, Felicia Gabriel, overtakes proceedings but as she is about to receive her prize a freak thunderstorm forces everyone to run home.

Alexandra (Alex), Jane and Sukie, the three Witches, have retreated to Alex’s living room for peanut butter brownies, martinis and begin to complain. They talk about their boredom with their current relationships which include casual sex, abstinence and Sukie’s affair with Felicia’s husband, Clyde. Alex’s son, Michael, enters with his girlfriend, Jennifer, who also happens to be Felicia’s daughter. The teenagers are disgustingly in love with each other and the Witches, seeing how happy they are, sing about the kind of man they would like in their lives ("Make Him Mine").

In Felicia’s kitchen, Felicia and Clyde show how truly unhappy they are and how Felicia is determined to keep her public face on their relationship. The phone rings; a man from New York has arrived and bought the deserted Lenox Mansion and is tearing down the trees in his backyard. Felicia, being the considerate soul she is, thinks of the snowy egrets that will lose their homes and decides to rally the town to stop him. Arriving at Lenox Mansion, Darryl Van Horne emerges from a puff of smoke and begins to charm all the residents except Felicia ("I Love A Little Town"). The "Eastwick Preservation Society" banner explodes in a fireball and everyone flees.

Darryl meets Alexandra on the beach where she is sculpting in the sand. Embarrassed, she allows Darryl to take her back to his house. They discuss sculpture and Darryl begins his seduction ("Eye of the Beholder"). Gossip begins to work its way round the town and Darryl goes to Jane’s studio where she is playing the cello. They discuss music and have a wild and sexual cello/violin duet which ends in the cello playing by itself and a massive musical and actual orgasm ("Waiting For The Music To Begin").

Clyde promises Sukie that he will leave Felicia but she enters with Jennifer and catches the two of them. Their excuse is that they're preparing research on Darryl and Lenox Mansion. When Sukie returns home Darryl is waiting for her. Darryl gets Sukie to break out of her introverted shell and talk to him ("Words, Words, Words"). Instead of sleeping with her, he invites her to a tennis game. It’s only when Sukie arrives and sees Alex and Jane that all three realise that Darryl has been sleeping with all of them. He serves a ball which explodes in mid-air and says that he’s the man they prayed for.

Michael and Jennifer meet and sing their puppy-love duet ("Something") while the rest of the town meet to do laundry and gossip about Darryl and his conquests ("Dirty Laundry"). During the number, Felicia, to her horror, discovers Jennifer kissing Michael and immediately sends her away from Eastwick.

Alex, Jane and Sukie enter, each wearing a stunning sexy dress singing about their childhood insecurities ("I Wish I May"). Darryl sweet talks the women and teaches them how to curse Felicia by throwing things into an enchanted cookie jar. They throw a tennis ball, a bracelet and some feathers into the jar and immediately, Felicia starts to throw up…a tennis ball, a bracelet and some feathers. Enchanted, the Witches turn to Darryl who tells them to close their eyes and suddenly they are flying high above the audience.

;Act IIDarryl invites Alex to Mexican Night at his house and she reflects on her single-minded pursuit ("Another Night At Darryl’s"). At Nemo’s Diner, Darryl bumps into Felicia and Clyde. He taunts her and she vomits a cherry pit. Seeing that Eastwick’s men have no idea how to please their women Darryl teaches the town about how to have real sex ("Dance With The Devil").

The Witches go to Darryl’s in coats and take them off to reveal matching lingerie. Just as they are about to have sex, Darryl’s manservant, Fidel, delivers a letter from The Eastwick Preservation Society that says they are suing him for filling in the wetlands. In revenge, all four start throwing anything they can find into the cookie jar. In Felicia’s kitchen, we see the result as she screams at the still bewitched Clyde ("Evil"). Eventually, she can no longer with cope with the curse and tells Clyde to do something so he hits her with a frying pan. Suddenly free of Felicia he shouts that he’s finally happy. However, with her dying breath, Felicia pulls Clyde’s tie into the waste disposal unit and turns it on.

The Witches start to avoid Darryl. When they return to Lenox Mansion, they tell Darryl that he has taken it too far. Furious, he screams at them but they run away and Darryl swears revenge. On the beach, Sukie bumps into the now orphaned Jennifer. She tries to offer advice but can’t find the words ("Loose Ends"). Darryl enters once Sukie leaves and begins to seduce Jennifer. He tricks her into marrying him and this news prompts the Witches to send Darryl back where he belongs.

Before the wedding Darryl leads the town in singing the praises of himself ("The Glory of Me"). The wedding begins but the Witches appear and, using a voodoo doll of Darryl they begin attacking him ("The Wedding"). Vowing revenge, Darryl is thrown back to Hell in a fireball and the church collapses. Michael and Jennifer are reunited ("Something" Reprise) and the Witches realise the error of their ways ("Look At Me").

Musical numbers

"London (as of closing night - 27 October 2001)"

;Act One:
*Overture
*Eastwick Knows
*Make Him Mine
*A Little Town
*Eye of the Beholder
*Waiting for the Music
*Words, Words, Words
*Something
*Dirty Laundry
*I Wish I May;Act Two:
*Entr’acte
*Another Night at Darryl’s
*Dance with the Devil
*Another Night at Darryl’s (reprise)
*Evil
*Dirty Laundry (reprise)
*Loose Ends
*A Little Town (reprise)
*I Wish I May (reprise)
*The Glory of Me
*The Wedding
*Something (reprise)
*Look At Me;Cut Songs
*Before the Night (cut in previews)
*What about the Egrets? (cut in previews)
*What Everyone Woman Wants (cut in previews)
*Who's the Man? (cut when the show moved from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to the Prince of Wales Theatre, replaced with 'The Glory of Me')
*Loose Ends (cut during previews in Australia in 2002, as well as all subsequent amateur productions)

"US Premiere Production"

;Act One:
*Overture
*Eastwick Knows
*Make Him Mine
*Darryl van Horne
*Waiting for the Music
*Words, Words, Words
*Your Wildest Dreams
*Something
*Dirty Laundry
*I Wish I May
*Finale - Act One;Act Two:
*Another Night at Darryl’s
*Dance with the Devil
*Evil
*Dirty Laundry (reprise)
*Loose Ends
*Darryl van Horne (reprise)
*The Wedding
*Look At Me

References

External links

* [http://www.witchesofeastwickthemusical.com Website for the new touring production]
* [http://www.nasda.co.nz/performances.asp Website for performance's page of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) based in Christchurch, New Zealand]
* [http://www.aboutmaria.com/witchesofeastwick.html Information about "The Witches of Eastwick" from Maria Friedman site]
* [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/108540.html Playbill.com article on American production, June 5, 2007]
* [http://www.curtainup.com/witchesofeastwick.html Curtain Up review of London production]
* [http://www.albemarle-london.com/Archive/ArchiveShow.php?Show_Name=The%20Witches%20of%20Eastwick detailed history of the London production from albemarle-london.com]
* [http://www.josef-weinberger.com/weinberger/mtishows/witches.html Performance License Details]


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