February House (2012 Off Broadway Cast)
Composer: Gabriel Kahane
Lyricist: Gabriel Kahane
After successful runs at both New York's Public and New Haven's Long Wharf theaters, February House will have an original cast recording on October 16, 2012 on StorySound. Based on the book of the same name by Sherill Tippins, February House tells the true story of Harper's Bazaar editor George Davis's attempts to found an artist commune in Brooklyn Heights during World War II. Among the many boarders he collected were modernist poet W. H. Auden, burlesque dancer (and we learn, best-selling crime novelist) Gypsy Rose Lee, composer Benjamin Britten, tenor Peter Pears, political activist Erika Mann, and novelist Carson McCullers. Adam Gopnik comments in his liner notes that the true domain of the American musical is "giving extraordinary treatment to ordinary emotions." He goes on to write, "The making of a family, however precariously, and for however short a time, is [February House's] theme, and the love songs that illuminate are all touched, I think, by the need not for a love so much as for company, someone to keep." With a book by Seth Bockley, February House traces not only these disparate personalities' ultimately unsuccessful attempt to live together, but, perhaps more importantly, chronicles their struggle to create beauty in the midst of crushing world conflict.