Next, we chatted with Branden Huldeen, the Artistic Producer at NAMT member Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA about the theatre’s upcoming world premiere production of The Royal Family of Broadway by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.
The Royal Family of Broadway is a new musical with quite a bit of history behind it! Can you tell us a little bit about the piece’s developmental history, and how Barrington has supported the piece’s development over the last few years?
Bill Finn first started working on this piece, based on Kaufman and Ferber’s play, The Royal Family, almost 20 years ago. Initially working with a different bookwriter, the piece developed through multiple readings and workshops and was on track to go to Broadway when the underlying rights expired. A couple of years ago, Bill was able to re-acquire the rights and approached Julie (Boyd, Artistic Director) about developing the show here at Barrington Stage (where Bill is also the head of our Musical Theatre Lab) with Rachel Sheinkin as bookwriter. We thought it was a wonderful idea and approached two of our Associate Artists, John Rando and Joshua Bergasse to direct and choreograph, respectively. We first held a private reading to hear Rachel’s book out loud, followed by a more extensive reading last year to hear the re-writes. This is a show created by members of our BSC family and we could not be more excited to have it open our Mainstage season this year!
Barrington has put together an excellent team to support the show’s development. Can you tell us about who’s in the room for The Royal Family of Broadway?
On top of the aforementioned Bill, Rachel, John and Joshua, we have Vadim Feichtner (also a BSC Associate Artist) as music director and Dance Arranger, Carmel Dean as vocal arranger, orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, set by Alexander Dodge, costumes by Alejo Vietti, lights by Jeff Croiter and sound by Joshua Reid. Plus a cast of over 20, band of 10, crew of a dozen, copyist, assistants, associates and more.
What inspired Barrington to produce this world premiere now?
After developing the piece over the past two years, we knew we had something special to share with the public and that due to its size and scope, this joyous, touching and funny musical would be the perfect way to kick off our 24th Season!
What makes Barrington a great partner for the piece, and why are your audiences the perfect fit for this show?
This show is very much a homecoming for some of Barrington’s most beloved artists. Bill and Rachel have been integral members of BSC’s family since The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and John Rando and Joshua Bergasse have helmed some of Barrington’s most successful revivals, from Guys and Dolls to On the Town to The Pirates of Penzance. It is a perfect fit for a show that is very much a love letter to Broadway and a show about family. Our audiences are eager for and receptive to new work, are fans of the creative team and extraordinary cast, and will love falling in love with the exquisite score of this new musical comedy.
For more information about Barrington Stage Company and The Royal Family of Broadway, visit Barrington’s website.