Preview by Paul Nelson
THE Ballad of Little Jo is a new award winning musical
by American writers Mike Reid (composer) and Sarah Schlesinger
(lyrics) based on the film of the same name by Maggie Greenwald.
It will receive its European premiere at the Bridewell Theatre,
Starring Anna Francolini in the title role, The Ballad of
Little Jo is an archetypal American frontier legend which
draws on Irish/American folk forms. Full of poignant melodies
and toe-tappers, it packs a powerful emotional punch.
The Ballad of Little Jo is based on the true story of
Josephine Monaghan, who lived as a man in Silver City, Idaho,
in the late 1800s. Her true identity was only discovered on her
Abandoning home after having an illegitimate child, Josephine
travels to the West coast and works in a silver mine, disguised
as a man until her true identity is revealed
'yarn' is woven with questions of prejudice and injustice and
the way small communities behave under pressure.
The Ballad of Little Jo is directed by the Bridewell Theatre's
artistic director, Carol Metcalfe, whose credits include the world
premiere of Sondheim's Saturday Night, Damn Yankees and
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
Musical direction is by Michael England, whose West End credits
include The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables.
First staged at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2000, the
New Yorker Magazine described it as: 'the real thing
best piece of musical storytelling I've seen in a decade
a compelling drama'.
An educational project, funded by the Corporation of London as
part of the City of London Festival, will explore some of the
themes from the musical, and will involve 45 students from three
inner London schools.