is a play written by Helen Edmundson
with music composed by Adrian Sutton, based on the 2000 children's novel of the same name
by Jamila Gavin
, an epic adventure that concerns the theme of child cruelty. The play is called a "play with music", rather than a musical
The action takes place in 18th century.
The benevolent Thomas Coram
has recently opened a Foundling Hospital
called the "Coram Hospital for Deserted Children". Unscrupulous men, known as "Coram men", take advantage of the situation by promising desperate mothers to take their unwanted children to the hospital for a fee. The story follows a range of characters, focusing on two orphans: Toby, saved from an African slave ship
; and Aaron, the deserted son of the heir to an estate, as their lives become closely involved with this true and tragic episode of British social history.
The show was first staged at the National Theatre in London from November 2005 until February 4 2006. It returned to the National Theatre from November 2006 to February 2007.
The play then moved to Broadway at the Imperial Theater, starting previews on April 16 2007, and officially opening on May 2 2007. It closed on May 27 2007 after only 30 performances and 17 previews. The show was nominated for six Tony Awards but did not win any.
Melly Still was the director and co-designer (with Ti Green) of both the London and New York productions. 1st London Cast (2005 - 2006):
4th - 8th November 2008 - Will be performed at the Castle Theatre in Aberystwyth.
19th - 22nd November 2008 - Will be Performed at the University of Sheffield Drama Studio, by SuTCo. www.sutco.co.uk
The music is performed by a 20-member onstage choir and a seven-piece chamber orchestra. The music includes parts or adaptations of Handel
, as well as over an hour of original music consisting of songs, period-style dance, and chamber music, as well as dramatic underscoring.
Awards and nominations
nominations (no wins):
- Best Featured Actress in a Play
- Best Direction of a Play
- Best Scenic Design of a Play
- Best Costume Design of a Play
- Best Lighting Design of a Play
2007 Theatre World Award - Xanthe Elbrick (winner)
Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:
Outer Critics Circle Award nominations (no wins):
- Outstanding New Broadway Play
- Outstanding Director of a Play (Lucille Lortel Award)
- Outstanding Set Design (Ti Green & Melly Still)
- Outstanding Lighting Design (Paule Constable)