(BOSTON) —The award-winning hit production of Candide that sold out in Chicago and Washington, DC comes to the Huntington Theatre Company in September to kick off its 30th Anniversary Season. Tony Award and MacArthur “Genius” winner Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses on Broadway, Journey to the West and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Huntington) helms the production, for which she has newly adapted the book from Voltaire’s text. Doug Peck offers music direction of Leonard Bernstein’s beloved score, featuring nearly 30 songs. The ambitious production, featuring an award-winning cast of 19 and a live orchestra of 14 musicians, recreates Voltaire’s satirical story of Candide (Geoff Packard, Helen Hayes Award winner for his portrayal), a young optimist shipwrecked, soldiered, swindled, and separated repeatedly from his true love, Cunegonde (Lauren Molina, Helen Hayes award winner for her portrayal). Variety calls this production, “The best of all possible Candides!”
“Candide is exquisite entertainment -- a blend of opera, comedy, travel, adventure, and romance,” says Zimmerman, whose major revival has been made using her signature style of collaboration with her company and creative team. The quick-paced story follows the young Candide, living on his Baron uncle’s manor estate and studying the philosophy of Dr. Pangloss, who teaches that everything happens for the best. When Candide and the Baron’s daughter Cunegonde fall in love and are discovered, they are cast out into the world. The audience takes a satirical ride with the pair through adventures and misfortunes that test their seemingly undoubting optimism. Bernstein’s Candide enchants with some of the most memorable music ever written for Broadway including “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” “Oh Happy We,” “I Am Easily Assimilated,” “Glitter and be Gay,” and “Make Our Garden Grow.”
“One of the things that we wanted to do for our 30th Anniversary Season was return our productions to a level of grandeur, ambition, and imagination in our larger space,” says artistic director Peter DuBois, “and that’s just what Mary’s production ofCandide will do.”
“Candide’s gorgeous music and lyrical wit act as proof of the very best potential of human beings and the beauty of this life — while at the same instant, the story is revealing some of the worst and most difficult aspects of that life,” says Zimmerman. Voltaire’s satiric genius is found in Candide’s earnest attempts to trivialize the tragedy and uphold the contention of his mentor, Dr. Pangloss, that all things happen for the best in this ‘best of all possible worlds’. Although the journey is described with humor, Voltaire also raises serious questions: How can mankind deal with disaster without surrendering to despair? Can optimism prevail in a world that frequently seems randomly cruel? How is survival itself possible in an environment that often gleefully refutes Pangloss’s hopeful axiom?
Mary Zimmerman returns to the Huntington having previously directed A Midsummer Night's Dream and her adaptation of the Chinese epic Journey to the West. She previously directed Candide at the Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company. Her Broadway work includes her Tony Award-winning production of Metamorphoses. Her other works originating in Chicago include The Arabian Nights, The Odyssey, Argonautika, and The Secret in the Wings (Lookingglass Theatre Company); The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Mirror of the Invisible World, Silk, and a new opera with Phillip Glass, Galileo Galilei (Goodman Theatre); and Eleven Rooms of Proust (About Face Theatre, Lookingglass, and Goodman Theatre). These shows have subsequently been produced widely at such theatres as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Second Stage Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. At The Metropolitan Opera she has directed Lucia Di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, and Armida. She is a 1998 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a professor of performance studies at Northwestern University.
Leonard Bernstein was a world-renowned musician, conductor, and composer throughout his entire adult life. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world’s major orchestras, recording hundreds of performances. His books and the televised Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic established him as a leading educator. His compositions include Jeremiah, The Age of Anxiety, Kaddish, Serenade, Five Anniversaries, Mass, Chichester Psalms, Slava!, Songfest, Divertimento for Orchestra, Missa Brevis, Arias and Barcarolles, Concerto for Orchestra, and A Quiet Place. Mr. Bernstein composed for the Broadway musical stage, including On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide, and the immensely popular West Side Story. In addition to the West Side Story collaboration, Mr. Bernstein worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins on three major ballets: Fancy Free, Facsimile, and Dybbuk. Mr. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including the Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Theatre, 11 Emmy Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Tom Aulino (Baron, others), Spencer Curnutt (Sailor, others), McCaela Donovan (Pacquette, others), Alexander Elisa (Inkeeper, others), Rebecca Finnegan (Baroness, others), Evan Harrington (Orator, others), Erik Lochtefeld (Maximilian, others), Lauren Molina (Cunegonde), Abby Mueller (Orator’s Wife, others), Geoff Packard (Candide), Jeff Parker (Anabaptist and others), Jesse Perez (Cacambo, others), Emma Rosenthal (Bird, others), Cheryl Stern (Old Lady), Timothy John Smith (Governor, others), Joey Stone (Soldier, others), Tempe Thomas (Queen of El Dorado, others), Travis Turner (Servant, others), and Larry Yando (Pangloss, others). Swings are Tom Hamlett and Shonna McEachern. A third will be announced shortly.
Mary Zimmerman (direction/adaptation), Doug Peck (Musical Direction), Daniel Pelzig (Choreography), Dan Ostling (Scenic Design), Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Design) Timothy J. Gerckens (Lighting Design), Richard Woodbury (Sound Design), M. William Shiner (Production Stage Manager), Kevin Robert Fitzpatrick (Stage Manager), Katie Most (Stage Manager).
“Gorgeously imagined, Candide is a garden of delights!” — Chicago Tribune
“Zimmerman makes many of the songs feel far more dramatic and layered than they have before. The best of all possible Candides.” — Variety
“A pleasure to behold...polished, pretty, and well-sung.” — The New York Times
“Eye-poppingly lavish. An extravagant parade of wonders. The cast is an embarrassment of riches. Gardens bloom eternal in Zimmerman’s Candide.” — Chicago Examiner
SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW
The Huntington’s 2011-2012 subscriptions are on sale now. Seated subscriptions are available in 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-play packages, and FlexPass subscriptions start with a minimum of 4 tickets that can be used for any show and never expire. Subscribers save up to 53 percent on full-price tickets to individual shows.
Subscriptions may be purchased by calling the Huntington Box Office at 617 266 0800 or by visiting huntingtontheatre.org/subscribe. Groups of 10 or more can place orders at 617 273-1665. Individual tickets for all shows will go on sale in August.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Theatre Company, in residence at Boston University, is Boston’s largest professional theatre company. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates world-class productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.