Photo credit: Patrick Weishampel
LARGE ON LIZZIE: The West Coast premiere of LIZZIE, the musical about the legendary ax murderer Lizzie Borden opens on May 30, and runs through June 29 on the Main Stage of Portland Center Stage.
Four dynamite rock mavens will make their PCS debuts: Mary Kate Morrissey, Leslie McDonel, Carrie Cimma and Kacie Sheik. They’ll be backed by a band featuring Scott Weddle, Matt Brown, Greg Eklund, Sean Vinson and Dale Tolliver. Rose Riordan will direct the mayhem, with Musical Director James Beaton bringing the epic rock score to life. Portland-based Broadway producers Brisa Trinchero and Corey Brunish helped develop this musical.
LIZZIE is a rock-show retelling of the bloody legend of America’s favorite ax-wielding double-murderess and Victorian hometown girl. Lizzie Borden, who has become fodder for jump rope rhymes and TV movies of the week, was a Massachusetts woman acquitted in 1892 of the ax murders of her father and stepmother, and lived the rest of her life as American’s first infamous tabloid star. But did she really do it? And if so, how?
A LIZZIE studio album was released in October of 2013, featuring Carrie Cimma, who will star in the Portland Center Stage production singing the role of Bridget, and Portland’s own Storm Large, singing the role of Emma Borden.
I spoke to Storm upon her arrival to Italy (where she's about to perform with Portland's own Pink Martini) about her involvement in the LIZZIE project and here is what she had to say:
How did Storm Large end up on the studio album for LIZZIE?
Storm Large: Stephen Mark Beaudoin introduced me to one of the financial backers of the project, Brisa [Trinchero]. She had wanted me for another project, I can't remember which one now...but I had dodged her until I met her and Stephen at Departure Lounge and she told me about "Lizzie". I fell in love with the story, and with Brisa, and so that's how I got to be Emma on the album
It’s the West Coast premiere of this rock musical, so there’s a good chance most people in Portland aren’t familiar with the show. What can people expect from the music?
It is a lot more interesting, musically, than most contemporary musical theater. For example, it actually has real heavy metal moments without the rock of aged gouda... you know? It's a super cool take on how to approach an historical period piece. Kind of like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, where they use more modern, youth angst-y rock music to express the feelings of a time when a concert was old people having harpsichord recitals in their stuffy salons.
Tell me about your favorite song from the album?
I'm a harmony dork, so I love "Watchmen For The Morning" and tthe King Crimson-y "Somebody Will Do Something" where Carrie Cimma (Bridget) fucking screams the skin off your face.
Carrie Cimma, who is in the PCS production, was featured on the Studio Album. Tell us more about Carrie and what it was like to work with her on the album.
I only just mentioned that girl, and you want to more? Well...I can't go into too much detail, because she'd have my favorite leg broken. But in a nutshell, I LOVE HER AND AM SO GLAD SHE'S IN PORTLAND!!
You know Portland audiences better than just about anyone. Do you think LIZZIE is going to work in Portland?
I think so. Portlanders love real people and true stories...we don't do self conscious or artificial well. We love true stories. The creative team from "Lizzie" did major work on the history of the legend, plus background checks and gossip from then and turn a childish limerick into a well fleshed anti hero's journey. It's a great story....and a cool all female concept musical.
James Beaton, your long time collaborator, is the Musical Director and Conductor for LIZZIE and he also plays in the band. How long have you two been working together? Are you working on any projects together right now?
James and I started the Balls together, so 12 years. I helped facilitate his gig with Lizzie in hopes it would keep him from getting sick of me. Fuck I hope it works. I love that guy. Best accompanist, such a great listener, musically and personally. He has been there for me in more ways and more times than I have the courage to count. Fuck...stop reading this James! We are working on another musical together based on another true story about more sisters. Only these ones ran a highly successful brothel in Chicago at the top of the 20th century.
As you type out the answer to these questions, where are you and what are you up to?
I'm in bed!!! Yay bed! And this particular bed is in a gorgeous villa in Sardinia, so it even sucks less than just any old bed. I've been asked to sing with China and Pink Martini for this lovely wedding. But tonight, I am answering these questions, listening to mixes from my next album, taking notes, writing a short story about great and terrible love affairs, and....because this is Italy...probably gaining weight.
Details: LIZZIE showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sundays (excluding June 8, 22 and 24); 2 p.m. matinees on select Saturdays and Sundays; matinees at noon on select Thursdays. Tickets can be purchased at pcs.org or 503.445.3700. A complete schedule can be found online: www.pcs.org/lizzie.
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Last Updated (Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:05)