EXCLUSIVE: With Broadway’s spring season revving up before the crush of openings to make the Tony Awards cutoff date of April 28, one more musical has been added to the mix, though it will take place a couple of miles south of the Theatre District. The James Joyce-inspired Himself And Nora will star Matt Bogart (he plays Robert Goulet in HBO’s Vinyl and played JFK in NBC’s Smash; on Broadway, he had leading roles in Miss Saigon, Jersey Boys and Aida)) and be staged by Pasadena Playhouse and N.Y. Musical Theater Fest veteran Michael Bush. It’s slated to begin performances May 14 at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. Opening night is June 6.
The production is noteworthy not only for introducing new talents in the musical theater world, but for being that rare enterprise, a commercial production in the exceedingly risky off-Broadway sector. The Minetta Lane is one of the city’s best off-Broadway venues, but it’s proven daunting for producers looking to earn more than rave reviews.
Himself And Nora has a book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Brielle and will be produced by Cherie King (who is married to Brielle) and executive produced by R. Erin Craig. It’s the “untold story,” as the producers describe it, of the Ulysses author’s “lifelong love and muse Nora.” The show was developed at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre; Hamilton Stage and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Additional developmental work was done with the James Joyce Center in Dublin, Ireland.
Brielle wrote the songs for Broadway’s Foxfire, starring Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and Keith Carradine, and was Composer In Residence at off-Broadway’s Circle Repertory Company, where he wrote the scores for such works as Fifth Of July, The Great Grandson of Jedidiah Kohler and Besides Herself. Brielle also scored such Las Vegas extravaganzas as Enter The Night and MADhattan.
“As I began to explore the life of James Joyce, the more I read, the more I became fascinated how Nora, an uneducated woman, seduced, satisfied and enlightened this brilliant, Catholic Dubliner who became one of the greatest writers in the English language,” Brielle said. “Joyce was an intellectual; it took Nora to spiritually lift him with her words, humor, sex and love. This is their story…and how James Joyce learned to love by loving.”
The creative team includes Kelli Barclay (choreography); Paul Tate dePoo III (set); Amy Clark (costumes); Jason Lyons (lighting); and Keith Caggiano (sound). Casting is by Geoff Josselson, general management by DR Theatrical Management, production management by Production Core and production stage management by CJ LaRoche.
Casting and other information about the production will be announced in the coming weeks.