Sheila Hancock and Jenna Russell to star in Grey Gardens at Southwark Playhouse
Based on an iconic 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens, with Book by Doug Wright, Music by Scott Frankel, Lyrics by Michael Korie, tells the spectacular real life rise and fall of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s aunt and cousin, Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale.
Starting in 1941 at an engagement party at Grey Gardens, the Bouvier’s mansion in East Hampton, Long Island, the musical tracks the progression of the two women’s lives from American aristocrats to reclusive social outcasts living in such squalid conditions, in a home overrun by cats, that the Health Department deemed the mansion ‘unfit for human habitation’.
Grey Gardens, produced by Danielle Tarento and directed by Thom Southerland, the award-winning team behind Grand Hotel, Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel, will open for a 6-week season in The Large at Southwark Playhouse from Saturday 2 January, 2016.
Sheila Hancock (Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale)
Sheila’s extensive career spans theatre, radio, television and film, and she is also now enjoying a career as a features presenter and as a writer including The Two of Us which won the British Book Award for Author of the Year, and her debut novel Miss Carter’s War. Her recent theatre roles in London include Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (Olivier Award, Clarence Derwent Award), Mother Superior in Sister Act the Musical (Olivier nomination); Emmie Packer in Barking in Essex and ‘Mum’ in The Anniversary (a role played by Bette Davis while Sheila played the daughter-in- law, in the film version); Maitre Suzanne Blum in The Last Duchess (Hampstead), and Meg in The Birthday Party (Lyric Hammersmith). She was in the original London productions of Annie and Sweeney Todd (Olivier nomination), and Rose in Gypsy at West Yorkshire Playhouse (TMA Best Actress Award). In New York, as Kath in Entertaining Mr Sloane (Tony nomination).
Jenna Russell (Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale)
Jenna won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Sunday in the Park With George. She made her Broadway debut in the show and was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and the Drama League for Distinguished Performance Award. She won the 2008 Theatre World Award for Broadway Debut Performance. Previously she was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award for Guys and Dolls. Her other extensive West End roles include Urinetown, Di, Viv and Rose, Martin Guerre, Follies and Les Miserables.