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Enchanted April: A History

February 28, 2019

We are so excited to open our 2019 season with Matthew Barber's Enchanted April, which will be here before we know it! This charming romantic comedy focuses on the bonds between women and the strength drawn from one another in complicated times. Over the next five weeks, we will be bringing you tons of backstage information about this lovely play! Until then, here's what you need to know: Enchanted April will run April 5-6 and 11-13 with all performances beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets will go on sale in five days and as usual are only $10!

 

What's fascinating about Enchanted April is how relevant audiences continue to find this story. Our edition of  the play is based on the 1922 novel, The Enchanted April, by British writer Elizabeth von Arnim--which was 1923's bestseller in America and England. Von Arnim's novel has been recreated more than five times over the last 97 years and was inspired by her own month-long holiday in the 15th-century Castello Brown of the Italian Riveria.

 

Three years after its publication, Enchanted April was adapted to the stage. In 1935, RKO Pictures produced an American feature film adaptation starring Ann Harding, Frank Morgan, and Katharine Alexander. Enchanted April did not achieve box office success that year, but the United Kingdom's 1991 remake did, bringing in over $13 million dollars! Not only did the movie achieve positive reviews from critics, but it was nominated for 3 Golden Globes and 3 Academy Awards. Though it did not win at the Academy Awards, Enchanted April won two Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Miranda Richardson) and Best Supporting Actress (Joan Plowright). The movie also featured Alfred Molina and Jim Broadbent, both of whom may be the most recognizable actors (for Americans) from the film.

The version of Enchanted April we are producing opened on Broadway in April of 2003 and ran for four months. Starring Jayne Atkinson and Molly Ringwald, the play was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play and Best Actress in a Play, as well as the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Play. Playwright Matthew Barber won the Outer Critics Circle Josh Gassner Award for Outstanding New America Play, and his work has been produced over 500 times internationally.

 

Since then, BBC Radio 4 released a serial of Enchanted April as part of their "Drama of the Week" series in 2015. A musical version of the story was written by Charles Leipart and Richard Bunger Evans in 2010. The world premiere took place in California in 2016 and added some new small roles to form an ensemble.

 

Enchanted April has thrilled audiences for years and we know it will surely be a winner among our audience, too. Don't forget to mark your calendars for the performance dates and stay tuned for our next Theatre Thursday, where we talk in depth with director Jessica Patterson-Galayda!

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