The opera Intimate Apparel, based on Lynn Nottage's heralded play of the same name, begins previews Off-Broadway February 27 at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. The opera officially opens March 23.
The cast will be led by Kearstin Piper Brown as Esther Tuesday through Saturday evening performances and Sunday matinees, with alternate Chabrelle Williams playing the lead role Wednesday and Saturday matinees. The production will also feature Dominic Armstrong, Justin Austin, Errin Duane Brooks, Helena Brown, Kearstin Piper Brown, Chanáe Curtis, Adrienne Danrich, Leroy Davis, Matthew Gamble, Arnold Livingston Geis, Christian Mark Gibbs, Tesia Kwarteng, Anna Laurenzo, Justin Lee Miller, Jasmine Muhammad, Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Kimberli Render, Krysty Swann, and Chabrelle Williams.
Intimate Apparel features a libretto by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nottage with music by Ricky Ian Gordon. LCT’s Bartlett Sher directs. One of Nottage’s best known works, Intimate Apparel tells the story of a single African-American woman named Esther, who sews luxurious ladies’ undergarments. She begins writing to a suitor on the Panama Canal, but quickly realizes she is the only person she can rely on.
READ: Sarah Ruhl and Lynn Nottage on How They Transformed Their Acclaimed Plays Into Operas
The production is presented by LCT and was initially developed as part of the Met/LCT New Works Program. The staging will also feature choreography by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy), set design by Tony winner Michael Yeargan (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza), costume design by Tony winner Catherine Zuber (My Fair Lady, The King & I), lighting design by Tony winner Jennifer Tipton (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, The Cherry Orchard), sound design by Tony nominee Marc Salzberg (Golden Boy), and projection design by 59 Productions, with music direction by Steven Osgood and stage management by Theresa Flanagan. Casting is by Telsey + Co.
The play first premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 starring Viola Davis as Esther. It won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle and Best Off-Broadway Play from the Outer Critics Circle. It is one of the most produced works in regional theatres across the U.S.