Stage Door News
Toronto: The Musical Stage Company announces the world premiere of “Kelly v. Kelly” May 26-June 18
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Following a 3-year wait, The Musical Stage Company is thrilled to announce the complete cast and creative team today for their eagerly anticipated production of KELLY V. KELLY, a new musical from Sara Farb and Britta Johnson and the conclusion of Johnson’s CRESCENDO SERIES residency with the company.
On stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre - Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre May 26 – June 18, 2023, this Musical Stage Company production in association with Canadian Stage, will star Eva Foote (FALL ON YOUR KNEES/Canadian Stage, 2020 BANKS PRIZE RECIPIENT) as Eugenia Kelly and Jessica Sherman (DEAR EVAN HANSEN/Mirvish) as Helen Kelly, Jeremy Walmsley (ONCE/Mirvish) as Al Davis, joined by Dave Ball, Joel Cumber, Peter Fernandes, Mike Jackson, Julia McLellan, Margaret Thompson, and Kelsey Verzotti.
The production will be directed by one of Canada’s most respected directors and choreographers Tracey Flye (NEXT TO NORMAL) with music supervision, orchestration, and arrangements by Lynne Shankel (LIFE AFTER), music direction by Jonathan Corkal-Astorga, set and lighting design by Lorenzo Savoini, sound design by Brian Kenny, and costume design by Alex Amini.
Set in 1915 New York against the backdrop of the rising suffragette movement, KELLY v. KELLY tells the story of a mother and daughter divided by passion, money, and values. When 19-year-old heiress Eugenia Kelly becomes tangled in an affair with a seductive tango dancer, her distraught mother Helen has her arrested and charged with incorrigibility, but despite her life becoming a public scandal, Eugenia is prepared to put everything on the line for love. Inspired by the court case that scandalized a nation, KELLY v. KELLY is an engrossing battle between mother and daughter and an unraveling of what it means to be a woman in America on the cusp of enormous societal change.
Featuring an electrifying musical score and mesmeric choreography, the world premiere production of KELLY v. KELLY will take you inside the imaginations of two of Canada’s most celebrated musical theatre forces, Sara Farb(Acting: FUN HOME, HARRY POTTER & THE CURSED CHILD/Mirvish) and Britta Johnson (Bookwriter, Composer, Lyricist: LIFE AFTER, DR. SILVER). Farb and Johnson first met when paired to work together during The Musical Stage Company’s NoteWorthy development program, which pairs Canadian playwrights and composers and gives them an opportunity to collaborate and experiment. The pair also later collaborated as part of The Musical Stage Company’s REFRAMED at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2016 for their 30-minute musical presentation of “He is Coming.”
It was Farb who first discovered the story of Eugenia Kelly vs. Helen Kelly in an episode of the podcast The Memory Palace and brought it to Johnson, “When I first encountered the story it immediately struck me as rife with musical potential – the backdrop of the story is the early beginnings of the jazz age and of a generation of women abandoning restrictive societal expectations. What we get from this story is a peek into the realities of being a woman at a time when womanhood was changing dramatically. It feels very relevant to the current moment when we are in the throes of another period of transition in terms of how we define what being a woman is, and in the refusal of gender roles entirely.”
The production, which was workshopped as part of the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College, marks the conclusion of the first cycle of The Musical Stage Company’s CRESCENDO SERIES – an unprecedented breakthrough for a composer of musical theatre in Canada through a three-production residency. Johnson first musical as Crescendo artist, LIFE AFTER, premiered in a co-production from The Musical Stage Company with Canadian Stage and Yonge Street Theatricals in Fall 2017, and was recently programmed at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, running to great acclaim in June and July of 2022. LIFE AFTER enjoyed its first U.S. run in March 2019 when it transferred to San Diego’s Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre.
KELLY V. KELLY is on stage May 26 – June 18, 2023 (Opening Night: Wednesday May 31) at the Berkeley Street Theatre - Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre (26 Berkeley St.) with performances running Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00pm, and with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets start at $29. For more information and tickets visit musicalstagecompany.com.