Barrington Stage Company Founder/Artistic Director Julianne Boyd announced today that the entirely original new musical based on true stories, The Right Girl, will be presented for the first time on Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 2:00 PM at Barrington Stage Company, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts when a film presentation of its first performance will premiere before a live audience. Featuring music by 11-time Academy Award nominee and Grammy®, Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning songwriter Diane Warren, lyrics by Ms. Warren, Louisette Geiss and Howard Kagan, and a book by Ms. Geiss and Mr. Kagan, The Right Girl is directed and choreographed by five-time Tony® Award winner Susan Stroman.
Is she The Right Girl? Eleanor Stark’s entire life has been leading up to this moment: her first day as Chief Creative Officer of the legendary movie studio, Ambrosia Productions. As Eleanor rises to the top of her game working side by side for years with the industry’s most respected men, we learn that one of them has been abusing women all along. What role does she play in the story of Hollywood’s most fiercely guarded secret?
The cast of The Right Girl includes Alysha Umphress, Jenna Ushkowitz, Tony Yazbeck, Heath Calvert, Steve Rosen, Robyn Hurder, Merle Dandridge, Polly Baird, Jessica Bishop, Jim Borstelmann, Joshua Buscher, Richard Gatta, Leah Hoffmann, Jolina Javier, Donald Jones Jr., Bryonha Marie, Sarah Ann Masse, Anthony Wayne, and Cory Lingner. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
Ms. Geiss’s screenwriting career ended in 2008 when she was sexually harassed. Since 2017 when media began to report on the stunning accounts of harassment in Hollywood, she has been a leader in the movement to bring abusers to account and to empower all survivors to tell their stories, seek justice, and change the culture. Ms. Geiss said, “To create this musical over the last two years was cathartic. The creative team sat down with more than twenty of my fellow survivors, women who are victims of about a dozen different men in entertainment. Only portions of their stories have been recounted in the press to date, so by presenting these women’s stories in their own words in an entertaining format like musical theater, we hope they resonate with an even bigger audience and empower other survivors to speak out. I worked diligently to reclaim my creative spirit again and have audiences see my work. I am particularly grateful to all the women who joined us as contributors and told us their stories, and who will share in the financial success of this show when tickets go on sale.”
Mr. Kagan said, “When we wrote this story, we also wanted to explore the times when we as a society have chosen whether or not to hear these women, the role of media in that process, and how the movement these survivors started is affecting everyone. Though the story is fictionalized, almost all of the dialogue, lyrics and situations came directly from these contributors and publicly reported stories. Our goal, from day one, has been to amplify and honor these women’s stories, and encourage audiences to help them change the world. I know I speak for the entire creative team when I say how grateful we are to each and every fearless contributor who trusted us with that responsibility.”
“Live theater allows us to laugh, cry, and examine uncomfortable messages that are important to hear, all while managing to entertain us.” Ms. Warren added. “I’ve always believed that anything worth saying is worth singing. Musical theater is the perfect medium to tell this story and I love that audiences will experience it with my songs. I’m so grateful to work with such important subject matter, and to have joined this creative team to mark my debut as a writer in this art form.”
“Were it not for the pandemic, we planned for this show to premiere at an off-Broadway or regional theater right about now,” Mr. Kagan added. “So, when the world changed in March, we changed course to rehearse and film this live theater performance in a way that kept everyone involved safe and socially distanced, while providing all of us a chance to work in the theater industry we love.”
Ms. Stroman added, “Whenever you’re making a play, big or small, there comes a time when you need to see it in front of a live audience. It’s the only way this weird, wonderful art form works. Barrington Stage has helped us create a scenario in which we can do exactly that, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.”
Artistic Director Julianne Boyd said “I am proud that Barrington Stage will present the first new American musical before a live, indoor audience since the pandemic began. We have been prepared to welcome audiences safely back since the summer and now that the state of Massachusetts and its citizens have achieved a level of control over virus spread, the State has moved to Phase 3 / Step 2 of reopening and we can open our beautiful indoor theater and safely gather to enjoy this great American art form as a community again.”
Barrington Stage has retrofitted their modern 520 seat theater for socially distanced seating for 160 and improved audience flow by removing every other row so audience members can move to and from their seats while remaining socially distanced. The speakers during the talk back will all be at least 12 feet from any audience member. Barrington’s newly improved state of the art ventilation and filtering system has new MERV-13 filters and all the theater air is purged after each performance. Masks will be required at all times for staff and audience members alike. The entire theater including public areas, seats and arm rests, will be sanitized using hi tech electrostatic sprayers, disinfectant sprays and wipes.
Ms. Boyd added “We are so excited to be partnering again with Howard Kagan, who also brought our Tony nominated revival of On The Town to Broadway audiences in 2016. This event will bring back to our stage two actors from our production of On The Town —Alysha Umphress and Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck — as well as Robyn Hurder who just received her first Tony nomination this week. Immediately following the presentation, there will be a talkback with Ms. Stroman, Ms. Umphress, Ms. Hurder, Mr. Yazbeck and a survivor who contributed to the story.”
The audience will be a mix of invited industry professionals and members of the general public. If you would like to submit a request for tickets, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is extremely limited, and reservations will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis.