Lincoln Center Theater will stage a new opera next year based on Lynn Nottage’s 2004 play Intimate Apparel. Nottage will write the libretto, with music by Ricky Ian Gordon, to be directed by To Kill A Mockingbird director Bartlett Sher.
The opera will be staged at Lincoln Center’s Off Broadway venue, the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Intimate Apparel will begin previews Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, with an opening night set for Monday, March 23.
Developed by Lincoln Center Theater and the Metropolitan Opera as part of the Met/LCT New Works Program dedicated to new opera and theater works.
Intimate Apparel is set in 1905 New York and tells the story of Esther, “a lonely, single African-American woman who makes her living sewing beautiful corsets and ladies’ undergarments. Seeking love and romance, Esther embarks on a letter writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal, and realizes that only her self-reliance and certainty of her own worth will see her through life’s challenges.”
The production will mark Nottage’s first opera libretto. She is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Ruined, 2009; and Sweat, 2017). Gordon has written both operas (The House Without A Christmas Tree, among others) and musical theater (Sycamore Trees, My Life With Albertine).
The opera version of Intimate Apparel will include a variety of musical styles, including ragtime, cakewalk and the blues. The Off Broadway play in 2004 won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play.
Casting and design team for next year’s Intimate Apparel will be announced at a later date.