Local Spotlight

Punk opera ‘Lizzie, The Musical’ rocks Anaheim

The Chance Theater of Anaheim’s 21st season kicks off with a punk-rock opera that explores the bloody legend of America’s favorite axe-wielding sweetheart-diva-heroine-enigma-psychopath, Lizzie Borden.

“Lizzie, The Musical” will run February 9 through March 3 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center.

Accused of brutally killing her father and stepmother in 1892, Lizzie was eventually acquitted by a jury of her peers, leaving the horrific crime unsolved. What really happened on the fateful night of the dual killings? Journey into a wondrous exploration of this mysterious tale, inspired by the raucous and revolutionary rock spectacles of the ‘70s, and iconic women rockers like Patti Smith and Joan Jett.

With music by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner, a book by Tim Maner, with additional music by Tim Maner, additional lyrics by Alan Stevens Hewitt, based on an original concept by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner, this musical’s orchestrations are done by Alan Stevens Hewitt.

“A gothic ritual with a ‘riotgirl’ attitude… an eerie hybrid of rock club and a turn-of-the-century New England parlor… deliciously watchable” – New York Times

“The greatest American musical since Sweeney Todd British Theatre

“A furiously performed declaration of feminist strength and survivorship” — Chicago Tribune

On a sweltering summer morning in 1892, in a small New England city, a prominent businessman and his wife — Andrew and Abby Borden — were brutally axed to death in their home. Their daughter, Lizzie, was the prime suspect.

Lizzie’s trial was a coast-to-coast media sensation, and her story has become an American legend. We all know the rhyme, but what do we really know about the story? What were the motivations behind the gruesome act? What secrets lived within the walls of the Borden household to have provoked such horror? What is the full story?!

“Lizzie, The Musical” began life as a four-song experimental theater/rock show hybrid sprung from Tim Maner and Steven Cheslik-deMeyer’s love of musicals, Americana, women rockers, and late-80s queer politics. After a couple limited engagements that were more a concert than a fully-fleshed out musical, Steven and Tim recruited Alan Stevens Hewitt at the beginning of 2009 to do the musical arrangements in time for a staged reading. The wide-ranging combined experience of the three gives “Lizzie, The Musical” a sound that owes less to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim than it does to Heart, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Grace Slick, Radiohead, and the Runaways.

This phase of development culminated in a production (called Lizzie Borden at the time) that ran for six weeks in fall 2009 at The Living Theatre on New York’s Lower East Side with sell-out crowds, great reviews, and received three Drama Desk Award nominations (for Featured Actress in a Musical, Costume Design, and Lighting Design).

The show would receive further development at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals, Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals, in concert at Ars Nova, and a second production at Village Theatre, this time directed by Kent Nicholson.

The final version of the show debuted in the fall of 2013 at Theater Under the Stars in Houston, inaugurating their new “TUTS Underground” season of edgy musicals.

Alli Rose Schynert as Emma Borden in regional premiere of Lizzie, The Musical

LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL

NOTE: This show includes adult themes and language

WHEN: Preview Performances: February 1-8; Fridays at 3 and 8 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m. Regular Performances: February 9-March 3. Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.

WHERE: Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim

TICKETS: $35 – $49. Discounts available for children (ages 4-12), seniors, students, and military.

INFO: (888) 455-4212 or visit www.ChanceTheater.com.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.