NEWS: Jeanine Tesori’s award-winning musical Violet gets UK premiere in the new year

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VIOLET, a multi-award-winning musical with music by Jeanine Tesori (Tony Award winner for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for Fun Home, and Tony-nominated for Caroline, or Change and Shrek the Musical), and book & lyrics by Brian Crawley (The Little Princess), will get its UK premiere in an international co-production opening in London in January before transferring to Tokyo, Japan.

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VIOLET will get its UK premiere at London’s Charing Cross Theatre in a 12-week season, running from Monday 14 January Saturday to 6 April 2019, with a press night is Monday 21 January at 7.30pm.

1964. Somewhere between North Carolina and Oklahoma, we find Violet, a young woman who was facially disfigured as a child. She hopes her life savings will bring her a miracle halfway across the country. Reflecting on her childhood, and shaped by the reactions of the people she encounters, Violet embarks on a life-changing personal journey.

VIOLET, based on the short story The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts, premiered Off-Broadway and won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award as Best Musical, before transferring to Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony awards. The new production is helmed by Japanese director Shuntaro Fujita.

Casting is to be announced.

Announcing the co-production, Charing Cross artistic director Thom Southerland said:

“I am delighted to welcome director Shuntaro Fujita and our producing partners Umeda Arts Theater for this exciting production. For four years it has been my privilege to create shows with Umeda Arts Theater in Japan, and I am pleased that VIOLET is the first of our collaborations in the UK.

“Building on our in-house musical productions of Ragtime, Titanic, Death Takes A Holiday and The Woman in White, I am thrilled that Jeannie Tseori and Brian Crawley’s urgent, exciting and extraordinary musical will find its premiere at Charing Cross Theatre.

“Umeda Arts Theater has been creating world-class, international theatre in both Japan and on Broadway and I am delighted they have joined us at Charing Cross Theatre for a production which will transfer to Tokyo after its initial London run.

“This collaboration marks the beginning of an exchange of both work and artists between Charing Cross Theatre and Umeda Arts Theater and we will soon announce further projects including the development of new work and further UK premieres. VIOLET is an important production at Charing Cross Theatre celebrating our commitment to the creation of exemplary work from a range of international artists.”


Jeanine Tesori (music) won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home. She has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Opera: A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy, Kennedy Center). Music for plays: Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline), John Guare’s A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe), and Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala). Film scores: Nights in Rodanthe, Every Day, and  You’re Not You. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway.

Brian Crawley (Lyrics & Book) is a playwright and screenwriter. He wrote the book and lyrics for A Little Princess (composer Andrew Lippa) which debuted at Theatreworks of Palo Alto in the summer of 2004. He also wrote the book and lyrics for Violet (composer Jeanine Tesori) which was mounted Off-Broadway by Playwrights Horizons in 1997, then remounted in a concert version in 2003 to help inaugurate their new theater. Other musicals he has written include Evangeline with Ted Dykstra, and Down There with composer Lewis Flinn. He appears in the documentary One Night Stand in which he writes a short musical in 24 hours with composer Gabriel Kahane. For the libretto of Violet, Brian won the Kleban Award. Prior to the Playwrights Horizons production, and on its behalf, Violet was given the Richard Rodgers Musical Production Award and an AT&T OnStage Award. Afterwards, besides a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, Violet received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical over all the year’s Broadway offerings (as did Paula Vogel’s play How I Learned to Drive; the first time two off-Broadway pieces took these top awards in the Drama Critic Circle’s history). Brian’s plays have been developed or staged at Lincoln Center, New York Theater Workshop, the National Alliance of Musical Theatre, and the Eugene O’Neill summer theater conference.

Shuntaro Fujita (Director) is a director of MY Promotion, Tokyo. He received Best Theatre Award of the 42nd Kikuta Kazuo Theatre Award in April 2017, and Best Director Award of the 24th Yomiuri Theatre Awards, the most prestigious theatre award in Japan, in 2017. Theatre includes: Peter Pan (Tokyo International Forum); Danny and Deep Blue Sea (Kinokuniya Hall Tokyo); Take Me Out (DDD Aoyama Cross Theatre); Jersey Boys (Theatre Creation – winner, Best Director Award and Best Production Award of the 24th Yomiuri Theatre Awards in 2017); Tegami the musical, New National Theatre); The Little Mermaid the musical in a version by Shuji Terayama (Theatre West, Tokyo); The Beautiful Game (otherwise known as The Boys in the Photograph, New National Theatre – winner, Sugimura Haruko Award and Best Director Award of the 22nd Yomiuri Theatre Awards in 2015); The Factory 2: Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen (Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater).

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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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