Casting has been revealed for upcoming invite-only industry readings of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a new musical based on John Berendt's 1994 Pulitzer Prize finalist novel. As previously reported, the in-development work features a score by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Taylor Mac. Rob Ashford is directing and Tanya Birl is choreographing, with readings set to be held August 3-4 in New York City.
The reading cast will include J. Harrison Ghee as Lady Chablis, Steven Pasquale as Jim Williams, Austin Colby as Danny Hansford, Amber Gray as Minerva, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Vera Strong, Harriet Harris as Serena Barnes, Paul Alexander Nolan as Joe Odom, and Lance Roberts as Bobby Lewis. The ensemble will comprise Shanel Bailey, Cameron Bond, Maya Bowles, Sean Donovan, Bailee Endebrock, Wes Garlington, Andre Terrell Malcolm, Miss Dirty Martini, Aaron James McKenzie, Grace McLean, Jessica Molaskey, Kayla Pecchioni, Ahmad Simmons, Allie Trim, and Cole Wachman. Casting is by The Telsey Office.
The novel, a New York Times best-seller, tracks an antiques dealer through four trials for murdering a male prostitute in Savannah, Georgia. The story is modeled on the real-life shooting of Daniel Lewis Hansford. The work won the 1995 Boeke Prize and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. A film adaptation was released in 1997 starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey.
The new musical adaptation is being produced by Hal Luftig, Craig Haffner, and Sherry Wright. Were the musical to come to Broadway, it would be Ashford's first time directing a new musical on the Main Stem.
The project has been in the works for some time. An earlier iteration, also produced by Craig Haffner with Rob Ashford attached to helm, was to have a book by Alfred Uhry and a jukebox score of standards as well as Southern rock, blues, and gospel, overseen by composer and sound designer Mark Bennett.