be wise, be brave, be tricky

Ok, so Neil Gaiman is reportedly breathing a sigh of relief over the stage adaptation of Coraline. I was questioning the idea of putting out a stage musical of this book so soon after the movie came out, and expected a nearly Disneyfied stage companion to the movie. With music by Stephin Merrit, I was intrigued, but I thought this would be just a colorful retelling of the film.

Nuh-uh.

The title role will be played by Jayne Houdyshell.

I first met Ms. H years ago at the McCarter Theatre where she was cast as the jolly and forthright Mrs. Fezziwig in the annual production of A Christmas Carol. She re-defined the role, though there wasn’t much to do, seeing as it’s a British panto in Princeton. Later I met her again at The Wilma in The Clean House, where she played the lead character’s sister desperate to clean, and clean, and clean, all through her sister’s nightmares and breakdowns and rebuilding, vacuuming pots of tossed topsoil from snow-white rugs, competently and vigorously cleaning as if it would save the world, with a deep, smooth voice dispensing humor so dry you could sand oak with it. She’s now known as Madame Morrible from Broadway’s Wicked, and has won or been nominated for numerous awards.

Ms. Houdyshell was, according to Wikipedia, born in 1953, and is not small in any sense. I would be so excited to see her bring her considerable talent to this role. What are little girls made of?

It’s playing in a 200-seat theatre (the Lortel), the perfect size for magic and terror.

Leigh Silverman, I’m quite impressed with your choices. Be wise, be brave, be tricky indeed.

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~ by manifenestration on May 4, 2009.

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