Festival Show Update: Darling Grenadine

This month, we chatted with Daniel Zaitchik, the writer of 2017 Festival show Darling Grenadine. This summer, there will be a production of Darling Grenadine at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, and a New York production at Roundabout Theatre’s Underground is scheduled for this winter. Below, we talk to Daniel about the upcoming productions and the work that’s happened on the show since we spoke to him last.

Harry is a charming songwriter whose fanciful view of the world rivals the Technicolor of any MGM classic. But as Harry floats through the kind of Manhattan life that dreams are made of, he suddenly finds himself confronted with the idea that a dream may be exactly what it is. And reality isn’t nearly as beautiful.

The last time we checked-in with you about Darling Grenadine, you were about to have a workshop at the Roundabout Underground. Can you tell us about what work you’ve done on the piece since that 2018 workshop?
I’ve been continuing to develop the show with the help of director Michael Berresse and Roundabout Underground artistic producer Jill Rafson. The work I’ve been doing has been about trimming fat, digging deeper and getting to the core of the story I want to tell. Imagining the piece in the small Underground space has made me think about the play more intimately and look at the characters more closely. I’m hoping the changes I’ve been making will be helpful whether the show is produced on a small or large scale. 

The show is about to have two productions: one at The Marriott Theatre this summer, followed by a production at the Roundabout Underground. Can you tell us about your partnerships with these two theatres? How will the show be different in each city?
The two productions have different artistic teams and casts. It’s an interesting thing to navigate, as the productions will be quite different in terms of size, design and sound. The Marriott Theatre is in the round and seats more than 800. For this production we will have a seven piece band. The Roundabout production will be in a black box with three instruments. I find both versions exciting in different ways! I’m interested in this being a show that can work in various spaces with various budgets, so I’m happy I’ll have the chance to see such different productions. 

The Marriott production opens later this month—can you tell us about who’s in the room for this production and how the rehearsal process is helping shape the show?
The Marriott production is directed by Aaron Thielen. Ryan Nelson is music directing and Matt Moisey is creating new orchestrations. I have developed this show with some of the same actors for a long time, so it has been helpful to hear new voices interpret the work. It allows me figure out what information is actually on the page. Similarly, working with a new director who has his own vision for the show has opened me up to things I’ve never thought about before.

What can audiences expect from this production, and why are you excited to share it with them?
The show is a romantic drama, and audiences can expect a balance of humor and serious subject matters. It deals with themes that I believe most people can relate to. Every time I work on it I learn a lot from the audience, so I’m really looking forward to learning from new eyes and ears in the Chicago area. I’m excited to see the show in a large theatre, and I love how the in-the-round space allows for various perspectives. It’s neat that one side of the audience may be receiving slightly different information than another side, especially in a play that deals with characters having conflicting experiences of the same moment. The cast is great and I’m excited about the bigger, lusher orchestrations Matt Moisey is creating specifically for this production. I’m also thrilled to be working with marionette artist Phillip Huber again, whom I worked with on the show in a developmental production at Goodspeed in 2017. He’s built a beautiful Labrador marionette and I’m certain audiences will be amazed by the life he breathes into it. 

Why should everyone make their way to Lincolnshire to see this summer’s production?
I think it will be a great production of the show in a unique space. I’m so happy that Marriott Theatre is taking a chance on a new piece, and I encourage folks to come check it out and support new work.

For more information about Darling Grenadine and to buy tickets to the Marriott production, visit The Marriott Theatre website.

Leave a Reply