The Transport Group production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown officially opened February 26 after beginning preview performances February 8 at the Abrons Arts Center. This reworked version of Meredith Willson’s Molly Brown, seen regionally at the Denver Center Theatre Company and the St. Louis Muny, was recently extended through April 5.
Tony nominee Beth Malone (Fun Home) stars in the title role with David Aron Damane (The Book of Mormon) as JJ, Whitney Bashor (The Bridges of Madison County) as Julia, Omar Lopez-Cepero (On Your Feet!) as Vincenzo, Alex Gibson (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Erich, and Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures) as Arthur.
Rounding out the cast are Paula Leggett Chase, Kaitlyn Davidson, Tyrone Davis, Jr., Gregg Goodbrod, Michael Halling, Karl Josef Co, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Shina Ann Morris, Keven Quillon, and CoCo Smith.
This version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown has music and lyrics by Willson (The Music Man), with additional songs from his catalog, and a new book (based on the original by Richard Morris) and new lyrics by Tony nominee Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Renascence). The music is adapted by Michael Rafter (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and the production is directed and choreographed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes, The Pajama Game).
The musical tells the rags-to-riches story of Margaret “Molly” Brown—a turn-of-the-century hero of the underdog, champion of women’s rights, fighter for labor rights, advocate of immigration reform—and, most famously, survivor of the Titanic. A love story about a woman who rejected the notion that it’s a man’s world, this new Molly Brown portrays Molly as she really was—vibrant, progressive, modern.
The production also has scenic design by Brett Banakis, costume design by Sky Switser, with gowns for Malone by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski, sound design by Walter Trarbach, music direction by Joey Chancey, and casting by Nora Brennan. The stage manager is Victoria Navarro.
The original production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown opened at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre November 3, 1960, and closed February 10, 1962, after 532 performances and one preview. It was directed by Dore Schary and choreographed by Peter Gennaro. The cast included Tammy Grimes, Harve Presnell, and Jack Harrold. Grimes won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.