Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One That Got Away: Floyd Collins

Every season, there are those shows I really want to see, but for a variety of reasons, I somehow miss them.  Most of them slip from memory soon enough, but a few nag at me because they have gone on to become well-regarded pieces of theatre.  This season, I know I really missed the boat by not ever getting around to God of Carnage and Red.  I suspect both will have long regional lives, and I'll probably get to them in one form or another.

Another that I really wanted to see, but won't get to before it closes is The Burnt Part Boys, though I have a feeling this one will go into the "slip from memory" category.  But it did return to my memory one show that I continually kick myself for not seeing, Floyd Collins, which shares with Boys a cave/mining accident as a major part of the plot.

The 1996 Production Photos

With a book and direction by Tina Landau (she has had something to do with most of the major productions of the show, too) and a score and lyrics by Tony winner (for Light in the Piazza) Adam Guettel, Floyd Collins came to be as a musical just before the turn of this century, at a music theater festival, followed by a full-scale production in 1996 at Playwright's Horizons with a cast which included: Christopher Innvar, Stephen Lee Anderson, Cass Morgan, Jason Danieley, Martin Moran, Brian d'Arcy James and Don Chastain.

The 1999 National Tour

A few years later (1999), after some revision was done, Ms. Landau directed a mini-national tour of the show starring: Romain Fruge, Guy Adkins, Kim Huber and Clarke Thorell.

The 2003 Actors' Playhouse of Miami Production

A major, award-winning production in 2003 was at the Actors' Playhouse in Miami featuring Tally Sessions and Brian Charles Rooney.

The 2005 Los Angeles Company

Hair tribe members Bryce Ryness and Jay Armstrong Johnson played Floyd in critically acclaimed productions in Los Angeles and NYU, respectively.

The NYU Production

I love the score, the unique sound and the acting that comes through on the cast recording.  And never having seen it anywhere, I can still let my imagination do the directing: I close my eyes and I am in the cave Floyd.

The "Real" Floyd Collins

Do any of you have shows that you love but have never seen a full production of it?  Share with us!

Comments?  Leave on here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.

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