Directed by Jesse Marchese
Monday, June 11th at 7:00pm
Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd St
Before Carousel, there was Liliom:
“One of the most exhilarating plays in the modern theater” Brooks Atkinson, New York Times
Liliom tells the story of a shiftless carousel barker (“Liliom” is the Hungarian for lily, and the slang term for “a tough”). Ferenc Molnár’s mystical drama charts Liliom’s ill-fated love-affair with a servant girl named Julie, and his attempt to recompense her in the afterlife.
Liliom was a failure when first produced in Budapest in 1909—Molnár’s daring blend of gritty realism and poetic fantasy baffled audiences—but was incredibly well-received when revived there ten years later. In 1921, the play was produced on Broadway by the Theatre Guild in an English translation by Benjamin Glazer. The production was a success, and Liliom remained wildly popular in America throughout the early 20th century—until Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein re-fashioned the play into their hit musical Carousel.
Molnár was generally opposed to adaptation of his plays and Liliom was no exception. He was first approached by composer Giacomo Puccini, who wanted to use the play as the basis for an opera. Molnár refused, saying, “I want it to be remembered as Molnár’s Liliom, not Puccini’s Liliom.” But Rodgers, Hammerstein, and their esteemed producers at the Theatre Guild were determined to wrestle the rights from Molnár’s grasp. The Guild decided that the best means of persuasion was to have the playwright see their tremendously popular production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! The idea worked; Molnár was charmed by the musical and agreed to have his play adapted by the famous team. Carousel opened in 1946 and became a benchmark classic of American musical theater, overshadowing Molnár’s early masterpiece.
Though Carousel remains the more oft-produced work, Liliom provides its own unique rewards. Mint Theater is pleased to present Molnár’s “wise and beautiful” (New York Times) meditation on human limitation and the power of love, as a special installment of our Further Reading series.
$35: Regular Seating
$100: Premium Seating and a post-show reception with the cast.
Call 212-315-9434 to purchase your tickets.
BLACK ‘ELL and D COMPANY
By Miles Malleson
Directed by Matt Dickson
Monday, July 16th at 7:00pm
Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd St., between 9th & 10th Ave.
Miles Malleson began his playwriting career in 1916, when wrote two one-acts about his experiences in WWI called Black ‘ell and D Company. Police seized the scripts, which were described as a calumny on the British soldier and banned. Neither play was produced until 1925. In 2003, Michael Billington of The Guardian reviewed a Finborough production, stating that Malleson’s plays serve as “a potent reminder that anti-war protest is not a modern prerogative.”