Lyric Stage presented the world premiere of BLUE ROSES, Nancy Ford and Mimi Turque’s musical adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE, on February 7-23 in the Irving Arts Center’s Dupree Theater.
February 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22 @ 8:00 PM
and February 9, 16 & 23 @ 2:30 PM
Dupree Theater at the Irving Arts Center
3333 N. MacArthur Boulevard
Irving, TX 75062
Lyric Stage’s world premiere of BLUE ROSES starred Tony nominee Sally Mayes as Amanda Wingfield. Sally made her Broadway debut in Cy Coleman’sWELCOME TO THE CLUB. Her performance won critical praise along with a Theater World Award and Outer Critics Circle nomination as one of Broadway’s Outstanding Newcomers. On Broadway, Sally is perhaps best known for her performance in the Roundabout Theater revival of SHE LOVES ME for which she won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Sally received a Drama Desk nomination for her role as Aunt Corene in URBAN COWBOY. She drew raves as Mae West in the National Tour of DIRTY BLONDE, and also appeared in the Broadway revival of STEEL MAGNOLIAS. She has also starred in several Off-Broadway productions including the original casts of CLOSER THAN EVER (Outer Critics Circle nomination), DAS BARBECUE, PETE N’ KEELY (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical), GOOD OL’ GIRLS, THE BEST IS YET TO COME, and PLAY IT COOL. Film and television credits include CITY HALL andBYE BYE BIRDIE, LAW AND ORDER, CRIMINAL INTENT, SEX AND THE CITY,and THE JOB.
Sally Mayes was joined by Duke Monroe as Tom, Laura Lites as Laura and Kyle Cotton as Jim.
Shelley Butler made her Lyric Stage directing debut with BLUE ROSES, and Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias was music supervisor. The design team included scenic designer Randel Wright, costume designer Ryan Matthieu Smith, lighting designer Julie Simmons, sound designer Bill Eickenloff and properties designer Jane Quetin.
How did Mimi Turque and Nancy Ford come to write BLUE ROSES?
I was applying to become a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and, for their audition, they required I present sample theatrically based songs that I had written. I had been drawn to The Glass Menagerie for years and pulled the script from my library and proceeded to musicalize the moment Laura opens up to Jim and reveals her love for her glass collection and most especially the Unicorn. Then our mutual friend, Harriet Slaughter, thought Nancy and I might work well together. I had admired her and Gretchen Cryer’s work for many years and the thought that Nancy was willing to listen to my output excited me a lot.
Mimi brought me ideas for a number of projects. I was impressed with all of her lyrics but most especially with her song for Laura. I immediately read the play. It sang to me; and because Mimi’s lyrics and her thoughts about the characters seemed so in tune with the spirit of the play, I wanted to work on the musical adaptation.
HOW WE OBTAINED LIMITED RIGHTS FROM THE TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ESTATE
We experienced the vicissitudes associated with getting permission to adapt a great play for musicalizing, but through it all the BMI Lehman Engel workshop inspired with its unwavering support and enthusiasm for BLUE ROSES. Then the miracle of friendship brought us to David Landon, a drama professor at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Thanks to David we were invited there to do a presentation of Blue Roses (They hold the rights to most of Tennessee Williams’s work.) Interested in what they heard, they recommended that Tom Erhardt, the agent for the Williams Estate, take a look at what we had thus far done. So, one late afternoon, in Nancy’s living room, with a few invited friends as audience and Lynnette Perry playing Laura, Tom Erhardt kindly attended a presentation. Thankfully, he responded favorably and recommended to the Estate that we be given limited rights to develop it and perform it in a regional theatre.
Our wonderful attorney, Jere Couture, guided us through the lengthy process that finally brought us to this point. Sadly, Jere passed away just before our final negotiations with Lyric Stage. We are greatly fortunate for our agent Barbara Hogenson’s enthusiasm for Blue Roses and her wonderful efforts on our behalf. We are indebted as well to Jim Morgan of the York Theatre for inviting us to do two performances in their developmental reading series. We are deeply grateful to Bruce Pomahac, Musical Director for The Rodgers and Hammerstein office, for recommending that Steven Jones give serious consideration to presenting Blue Roses and thankful that Steven and the amazing Jay Dias agreed that we should have our premiere here at the beautiful Lyric Stage.