Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof) stars as Rosalind Franklin in Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts' world premiere musical Double Helix, kicking off Bay Street's 2023 season with an official opening June 3 after performances began May 30. The run will continue through June 18. Scott Schwartz is directing, with choreography by Addy Chan and music direction by Patrick Sulken.
The work, written and composed by Madeline Myers, follows Rosalind Franklin, a real-life researcher and scientist who fought against anti-semitism and other adversities to discover the structure of DNA. The musical's premiere coincides with the 70th anniversary of the discovery.
Joining Massell in the company are Anthony Chatmon II, Max Chlumecky, Matthew Christian, Anthony Joseph Costello, Kate Fitzgerald, Amy Justman, Austin Ku, Thom Sesma, Ethan Yaheen-Moy Chan, and Tuck Sweeney.
"When I began writing Double Helix in 2019, I knew I wanted the role of Rosalind Franklin to be played by Samantha Massell," said Myers in an earlier statement. "She is an actor whose extraordinary skill as a musical storyteller felt profoundly aligned with the force of character that is Rosalind Franklin. My goal in writing this character has been to render Rosalind as truthfully as possible—not just as a scientist but also as a woman. It’s particularly meaningful to me, as a Jewish woman, for Rosalind Franklin, a Jewish woman, to be brought to life by Samantha, a Jewish woman. The artistry and humanity Samantha brings to this role is something really, really special."
"After developing the role of Rosalind Franklin for more than four years, I am thrilled to finally get to share Double Helix with the Bay Street Theater audience this summer," added Massell. "Madeline’s work is extraordinary and pushes the boundaries of musical theatre into new and exciting territory, not unlike how Rosalind pushed to be taken seriously as a Jewish woman in a man’s world post-WW2. I’m thrilled to see this Jewish story cast authentically/helmed by a predominantly Jewish team, to explore the topic of science after these last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to dig into this inspiring role and show."