Inclusive Dates: 2014
Production Files documenting the 2014 Broadway premiere production of Violet at the American Airlines Theatre, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Directed by Leigh Silverman, with set design by David Zinn, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Leon Rothenberg, orchestrations by Rick Bassett, Joseph Joubert and Buryl Red, musical direction by Michael Rafter, musical coordination by Seymour Red Press, choreography by Jeffrey Page, and hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.
The production starred Sutton Foster as Violet, with Colin Donnell as Monty, Joshua Henry as Flick, and Alexander Gemignani as Father. The rest of the cast included Emerson Steele as Young Violet, Charlie Pollock as Leroy Evans/Radio Soloist/Bus Driver 3/Bus Passenger, Ben Davis as Preacher/Radio Singer/Bus Driver 1/Bus Driver 4, Annie Golden as Old Lady/Hotel Hooker, Anastacia McCleskey as Music Hall Singer/Bus Passenger, Austin Lesch as Virgil/Billy Dean/Bus Driver 2/Radio Singer/Bus Passenger, and Rema Webb as Lula Buffington/Almeta/Bus Passenger; Jacob Keith Watson and Virginia Ann Woodruff were swings, and Austin Lesch, Charlie Pollock, Jennifer Blood, Emma Howard, and Azudi Onyejekwe acted as understudies.
2014 Awards and Nominations:
Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical (nominee)
Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Sutton Foster (nominee)
Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Joshua Henry (nominee)
Tony Award, Best Direction of a Musical, Leigh Silverman (nominee)
Drama Desk, Outstanding Revival of a Musical or Revue (nominee)
Drama Desk, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Sutton Foster (nominee)
Drama Desk, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Joshua Henry (nominee)
Theatre World Award, Emerson Steele (recipient)
Doris Betts, born Doris June Waugh in Statesville, North Carolina in 1932, was a celebrated author, professor, and lifelong southerner. She started writing as a teenager, reporting for Statesville’s local paper, and began writing fiction while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She won the prestigious Mademoiselle College Fiction Contest (other winners include Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates) for one of her student pieces. The award would prove to be the first of many for Betts, who went on to become a Guggenheim Fellow and a finalist for the National Book Award and to win, among other prizes, the North Carolina Award for Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal of Merit. After working as both a fiction writer and a journalist, Betts took up a post at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she remained a beloved professor for 32 years. In her April 2012 obituary, the New York Times described Betts as a writer “whose characters grappled with religious faith, freedom, captivity and original sin in tales steeped in the Southern literary tradition.” Of these tales, a short story titled “The Ugliest Pilgrim” is Betts’s best-known work, thanks to its adaptation as an Academy Award®-winning 1982 short film and, of course, a 1997 musical, both titled Violet. The story, like much of Betts’s work, is imbued with the sensory world of the south and the literary hallmarks of Southern Gothic writing: ambiguous morality and lost innocence, deadpan observations, offbeat humor, grotesque events, and outcast characters. Doris Betts’s writing is commonly categorized as Southern Gothic. Author Flannery O’Connor, another Southern Gothic-style writer, explains that this type of writing is often categorized by faith-driven storylines. Betts’s own relationship to faith does pervade her work. Her first impulse to write, she said, came from Biblical stories, which “[make] you feel that the ordinary is not ordinary.” In Betts’s fiction, the ordinary is also hopeful, and this optimism is richly maintained in Violet.
Showtime broadcast a short live-action film version of Violet. It was directed by Shelley Levinson and won an Academy Award®. starring Didi Conn. tresearched the source material with my business/producing partner at the time, Buryl Red. Tesori found the short story and then found Doris Betts, the author, and the pieces fell into place. Betts didn’t initially see the piece becoming a musical but through some finagling, she ultimately agreed. [Roundabout Theatre Study Guide]
Production Files encompass one Hollinger box consisting of 8 folders, a Playbill, marketing flyers, and a stick drive with stage management files.
Digital holdings on the Archive 1 server include the following folders:
Education (Lecture series and Upstage study guide)
Media (Folders for 100th performance photos, Broadway cast album, B-roll, opening night interviews, Penthouse, Hiptix and other event and press photos, Rehearsal and Meet & Greet photos, and Sutton Foster mp4s)
Opening Night - Shevett
Access Restrictions: Open and available to approved researchers by appointment only.
See folder details for specific restrictions.
Preferred Citation: Violet 2014, Roundabout Theatre Company Archives
Library of Congress Subject Heading Roundabout Theatre CompanyHaimes, ToddSilverman, LeighFoster, SuttonTesori, Jeanine. VioletCrawley, Brian, 1962-Donnell, ColinGemignani, Alexander, 1979-Henry, JoshuaRamos, ClintGreyhound busesEvangelical RevivalGospel musicBlues (Music)Man-woman relationshipsRace relations in the United StatesCivil rightsScars in art Related Staged Production