Dave Malloy has released a full-length video of Ghost Quartet from its 2015 run at the McKittrick Hotel. Check out the performance, featuring Malloy, Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, and Brent Arnold, above.
The chamber musical, written and composed by Malloy with arrangements by the ensemble, originated at the Bushwick Starr in 2014 before moving Off-Broadway for an extended run. The production, directed by Annie Tippe and with production design by Christopher Bowser, is staged in the round with the musicians—on cello, guitors, dulcimer, autoharp, piano, keyboards, and percussion—seated among the audience.
“We hope you enjoy this recording of the original cast and production of Ghost Quartet in this theatre-starved time,” Malloy said in the wake of mass gathering bans impacting theatre companies worldwide. “The direction and design you see represent the original director and designer’s vision, so should you license the piece to perform, we invite you to get creative and come up with your own version; it would excite us very much to see wildly different takes on the piece.”
The song cycle explores the intersections of four distinct stories and, in part, follows Rose, who’s been betrayed by her lover with her own sister. Rose seeks vengeance and a passing bear might just offer the answer. But his services come at a price: a pot of honey, one piece of stardust, a secret baptism, and a photo of a ghost.
Malloy earned three Tony nominations for creating Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (featuring Ghost Quartet's Ashford and Bell), which opened on Broadway in 2016. His additional works include the a cappella musical Octet (which had an extended run at the Signature Off-Broadway in 2019), as well as Moby-Dick (which premiered at the American Repertory Theater last year).
A London production of Ghost Quartet opened in October at the Boulevard Theatre.