Back in 2006, LCT and the Metropolitan Opera created a collaborative program to bring new works to our stage and theirs. The Met/LCT Opera/Musical Theater Commissioning Program has led to Nico Muhly’s Two Boys at the Met in 2013 and additional pieces in development there. Now, after more than a decade, it is LCT's turn! We are delighted to announce that a new opera, INTIMATE APPAREL, will be produced by LCT as part of this program.
Although we have done sung-through musicals over the years, this is LCT’s first opera! It is based on Lynn Nottage’s acclaimed play of the same name. Widely produced around the country, the play also won the 2004 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Play. The score is by Ricky Ian Gordon. He is the ideal composer for this piece -- his score complements Lynn’s libretto beautifully, integrating period-appropriate ragtime, cakewalk, music hall, and vaudeville. It was actually Ricky who approached Lynn to ask if she would be interested in collaborating with him to transform her beloved play into an opera. She immediately said ‘yes.’ She also shared that when she originally wrote the play she had considered writing it as a musical or an opera! LCT Resident Director, Bartlett Sher (My Fair Lady, Two Boys at the Met) will direct.
Set in 1905 in turn of the century New York, INTIMATE APPAREL tells the story of Esther, a lonely, single African-American woman who makes her living sewing beautiful corsets and ladies’ undergarments. There is warm affection between her and the Orthodox Jewish man who sells fabrics to her, but any relationship between them, even a touch, is completely forbidden. Seeking love and romance, Esther eventually embarks on a letter writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal. When he moves to New York they embark on an unhappy marriage, leading Esther to realize that only her self-reliance and certainty of her own worth will see her through life’s challenges.