Michael John LaChiusa, 1993 off-Broadway musical Hello, Again, was an adaptation of La Ronde, a controversial German play from the late 1800s made into a film. The film won the BAFTA award for Best Film and was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Writing and Best Art Direction. The film follows eleven episodes that tell the stories of ten illicit sexual encounters involving a prostitute, a soldier, a chambermaid (Nurse in the musical), her employer’s son, a married woman, her husband, a young girl, a poet, an actress, a count, and the prostitute again. After each encounter, one of the two partners forms a liaison with the next person, resulting in an unbroken “circle” (ronde) by the end.
In the film version set to hit the film circuit this summer the cast is star studded. Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, former Dancing With The Stars winner (and one of the stars of Broadway’s Chicago) Rumor Willis, Martha Plimpton, Cheyenne Jackson, T. R. Knight, Glee‘s Jenna Ushkowitz and actor and former Versace underwear model Nolan Gerard Funk bring this material to life.
There are several changes from LaChiusa’s original version. Sam Underwood plays “The Whore.” In the original production that role was played by Tony winner Donna Murphy. Martha Plimpton plays the Senator, a role originally played by John Dossett. This means when the actress played by Audra McDonald sings “Mistress To The Senator” it has whole new meaning, if that song is even still in the production. LaChiusa’s version added an element of homosexuality to the German original, and director Tom Gustafson’s version looks like it goes even further.
Could this be the new 50 Shades of Grey?