West Windsor, N.J. – It’s a story about the amazing things that can happen on the way to somewhere else, as an emotionally and physically scarred young woman sets out to change her life. The Pennington Players present “Violet – A Musical” at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre.
Dates and show times for this transformative tale are: Fridays, Nov. 6 and 13 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Nov. 7 and 14 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Nov. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Nov. 6.
Set during the civil rights era of the 1960s, Violet is a young woman from the hills of North Carolina who was badly disfigured in a childhood accident. Convinced that a televangelist faith healer has the power to restore her appearance, she sets out on a bus trip to Tulsa, Okla. Along the way, she meets a pair of soldiers – Monty, who is white, and Flick, who is black. In the South of 1964, she finds a kinship with Flick, who, like her, is immediately judged by strangers because of his appearance. The real question the show ponders is “What is beauty?”
Based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, “Violet” borrows its musical style from the American traditions of blues, gospel and folk. Featuring music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley, the original production opened in 1997 to critical acclaim, winning the New York Drama Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Musical as well as the Richard Rodgers Production Award. “Violet” is an early musical score by Tesori, whose best-known later works range from big-name movie adaptations of “Shrek” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” to the more adventurous terrain of “Caroline, or Change,” her collaboration with Tony Kushner, which is also set in the civil rights era South.