Lincoln Center Theater and Metropolitan Opera's Off-Broadway production of Intimate Apparel, the opera adaptation of Lynn Nottage's 2003 play, will premiere as part of PBS' Great Performances series September 23 at 9 PM ET; check local listings.
Nottage, a two-time Pulitzer winner, adapted the libretto, working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. The work played LCT's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater this past season. Tony winner Bartlett Sher directed the production, which was filmed in March.
The story centers on Esther, a seamstress in turn-of-the-century New York, who sews corsets and ladies' undergarments. Her own search for love leads to a letter-writing relationship, an unhappy marriage, and finally to a recognition of her own self worth. The role of Esther was shared by Kearstin Piper Brown and Chabrelle Williams during the Off-Broadway run; Brown is featured in the filmed version.
The cast also includes Justin Austin, Errin Duane Brooks, Brown, Chanáe Curtis, Adrienne Danrich, Jesse Darden, Arnold Livingston Geis, Tesia Kwarteng, Anna Laurenzo, Barrington Lee, Jasmine Muhammad, Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Adam Richardson, Kimberli Render, David Morgans Sanchez, Krysty Swann, Indra Thomas, and Jorell Williams.
Intimate Apparel has choreography by Dianne McIntyre, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, sound by Marc Salzberg, projections by 59 Productions, casting by The Telsey Office, and music direction by Steven Osgood. Theresa Flanagan was the stage manager.
Great Performances will also present Nashville Ballet's Black Lucy and The Bard September 16 at 9 PM ET; check local listings. Choreographed and directed by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling, the ballet was recorded in March.
The production explores the love life of Shakespeare and his muses, the “Dark Lady” and the “Fair Youth,” presenting the idea that the subjects in his love sonnets were a Black woman and a young man. The show is based on Caroline Randall Williams' 2015 book, Lucy Negro, Redux. Williams narrates with her own spoken word poetry.
Mixing present-day and historical characters, the ballet features an original score by Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens and co-composer Francesco Turrisi. The cast includes Claudia Monja as Lucy, Owen Thorne as Shakespeare, and Nicolas Scheuer as Fair Youth plus an ensemble of Nashville Ballet dancers. Onstage alongside the dancers are musicians Giddens and Turrisi, who play several instruments, including violin, banjo, mandolin, and piano.
Both works will also be available at PBS.org and streaming via the PBS Video app.