Rehearsals are underway for the opera of Intimate Apparel, based on Lynn Nottage's heralded play of the same name. The production is set to begin its Off-Broadway run February 27 at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater ahead of a March 23 opening.
The opera features a libretto by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nottage, music by Ricky Ian Gordon, and direction by LCT’s Bartlett Sher. Set in 1905, Intimate Apparel tells the story of single African-American woman named Esther, who sews luxurious ladies’ undergarments. She begins writing to a suitor on the Panama Canal, but quickly realizes she is the only person she can rely on.
Inside Rehearsal for Off-Broadway’s Intimate Apparel Opera
The cast will be led by Kearstin Piper Brown as Esther Tuesday through Saturday evening performances and Sunday matinees, with alternate Chabrelle Williams playing the lead role Wednesday and Saturday matinees. The production will also feature Dominic Armstrong, Justin Austin, Errin Duane Brooks, Helena Brown, Kearstin Piper Brown, Chanáe Curtis, Adrienne Danrich, Leroy Davis, Matthew Gamble, Arnold Livingston Geis, Christian Mark Gibbs, Tesia Kwarteng, Anna Laurenzo, Justin Lee Miller, Jasmine Muhammad, Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Kimberli Render, Krysty Swann, and Chabrelle Williams.
Intimate Apparel is presented by LCT and was initially developed as part of the Met/LCT New Works Program. The staging will also feature choreography by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy), set design by Tony winner Michael Yeargan (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza), costume design by Tony winner Catherine Zuber (My Fair Lady, The King & I), lighting design by Tony winner Jennifer Tipton (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, The Cherry Orchard), sound design by Tony nominee Marc Salzberg (Golden Boy), and projection design by 59 Productions, with music direction by Steven Osgood and stage management by Theresa Flanagan. Casting is by Telsey + Co.
The play first premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 starring Viola Davis as Esther. It won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle and Best Off-Broadway Play from the Outer Critics Circle. It is one of the most produced works in regional theatres across the U.S.