The Bridges of Madison County
The Bridges of Madison County musical features director Bartlett Sher taking the helm, with the role of Francesca played by Kelli O'Hara and that of Robert by Steven Pasquale. Both are renowned actors and a perfect fit for this exciting musical. At the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the musical saw a number of performances, which were also directed by Bartlett Sher. Members of the creative team for this production included scene designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Catherine Zuber, lighting designer Donald Holder, sound designer Jon Weston and musical director Thomas Murray.
Steven Pasquale played Robert in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production. The role of Francesca was, however, played by Elena Shaddow. Other members of the cast included Daniel H. Jenkins playing Bud, Nick Bailey playing Michael and Caitlin Kinnunen playing Carolyn. After this production, previews for the Broadway production were held in early 2014 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The same creative team was behind this production, with the members of the original cast returning. New actors included Kelli O'Hara, who plays Francesca, and Hunter Foster, playing Bud. Derek Klena also joined the cast, playing Michael.
Kelli O'Hara was supposed to play the role of Francesca at the Williamstown production but could not as she was expecting a child at the time. Her role was then played by Elena Shaddow. Much like the book, the musical follows a National Geographic photographer who comes to Iowa to photograph the renowned covered bridges of the area. It is here that he meets Italian–American housewife, Francesca Johnson. The two fall in love and thus begins a love affair. The Bridges of Madison County musical received a mind blowing nine Drama Desk Award nominations in 2014.
These nominations were in the Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Music and more. It also received two Outer Critics Circle Award nominations in the Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Outstanding New Score categories. The musical was also nominated for three Drama League Awards during the same year, including two to Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasqualle. Last, but definitely not least, the musical was the recipient of four Tony Award nominations, including Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Clearly one of the year's most critically acclaimed musicals, it is based upon a book that was published in 1992.
The one hundred and ninety two page book by Waller would go on to become one of the best–selling books of the twentieth century, with a breathtaking fifty million plus copies sold globally. The author also went on to publish a follow up book, A Thousand Country Roads. The book is a fitting choice for a musical adaptation and comes with a cast that has beautifully pulled this off. Kelli O'Hara, who plays Francesca, is a renowned actress who has received five Tony Award nominations and is known for roles in Broadway productions as Jekyll & Hyde, Follies, Sweet Smell of Success: The Musical and Dracula, the Musical. With her in the lead, this is a musical to see live after buying The Bridges of Madison County tickets.