The Complete HOUSE OF MIRTH première
Words by Emily KingMusic by Ryuichi Sakamoto Directed by Emily KingMusical Supervisor: Emily Duncan Video Editors: Kyle Feldman & Tony Torn This story is a tragedy for the characters, and comedy of revenge for the one who wrote it.
THE SONGS & SINGERS
2. GRAND CENTRAL STATION 1905 (“Tong Poo”) 5:54 Carey Blackburn & Company
3. SELDEN’S LAMENT (“Intermezzo”) 4:36 Joseph Parrish & Carey Blackburn
4. PERCY’S WALTZ (“Chanson”) 2:46 Carey Blackburn & Yannik Encarnação
5. WHEN I FOUND YOU (“Aqua”) 4:19 Joseph Parrish & Carey Blackburn
6. ROSEDALE’S PROPOSAL (“Lorenz and Watson”) 4:22 Sean Gregory
7. AUNT PENISTON’S ANTHEM (“Put Your Hands Up”) 4:56 Mary Jo Mace & Carey Blackburn
8. QUADRILLE SEXTET (“Opus”) 4:56 Robert M. Johanson, Teresa Hui, Carey Blackburn, Joseph Parrish, Sean Gregory & Becky Whitcomb
9. MISS BART (“Sonatine”) 4:14 Carey Blackburn
10. IN LILY’S LAST ROOM (“Energy Flow”) 5:03 Carey Blackburn, Emily King & Mary Jo Mace
11. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Coda (“Railroad Man – Piano version”) 1:40 Emily King, Joseph Parrish, Carey Blackburn, Ladies Chorus: Teresa Hui, Becky Whitcomb & Mary Jo Mace
Shai Zohar, solo piano
All compositions © Ryuichi Sakamoto; All lyrics © Emily King, BMIAll songs based on compositions by Ryuichi Sakamoto, originally recorded by him and released by Sony Classical as RYUICHI SAKAMOTO BTTB ©1999 KAB America Inc.
The STORY between The SONGS
In The House of Mirth Song Cycle, author Edith Wharton introduces Lily’s plight herself (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH). Her heroine, Lily Bart, stands in GRAND CENTRAL STATION (1905), to begin the journey that she hopes will end in a splendid match at a mansion house party up the Hudson River. She happens to see her old childhood sweetheart Lawrence Selden, a young, sociable but decidedly unwealthy lawyer. She accepts his risky invitation to tea at his bachelor apartment, but their feelings for each other are doomed to frustration by the status quo. (SELDEN’S LAMENT)
Up the river, at the stately home of financier Gus Trenor and his wife, Lily’s friend Judy, Lily strolls with her intended marital object, mamma’s boy and antique book collector Percy Gryce, explaining her fabulous upbringing and eligibility as a willing listener to Percy’s obsessive collecting of Americana. (PERCY’S WALTZ). She is on the verge of successfully pretending to be everything his mother could hope for in Percy’s wife, when Selden arrives unexpectedly to remind her of what love actually feels like. (WHEN I FOUND YOU). Percy’s mother tells him to look elsewhere.
High stakes card games are de rigueur at the Trenors’, and if Lily wants to be in the room with the men, she must play the game, even if she has to borrow the money from Judy, and then Gus, to do so. Looking for his advice, Lily visits a nouveau riche financial wizard named Rosedale, who latches on to Lily as the perfect wife to assure his entrée into this only thinly disguised anti-Semitic society. (ROSEDALE’S PROPOSAL). His pragmatism outdoes even hers, and she turns him down. Her debts are mounting, and she receives a dressing down -- and a lesson in Society’s requirements of an eligible young lady – from her last wealthy relative. (AUNT PENISTON’S ANTHEM).
In the Trenor ballroom, (QUADRILLE SEXTET) the pressure is mounting as Gus insists that her IOUs be converted into sexual favors. Gossipy “friend” Bertha Dorset lets Lawrence Selden in on the gossip about Lily and Gus. Selden tries to warn Lily, but Rosedale cuts in to press his suit. Her “friend” Judy is offended by Rosedale’s attentions to Lily. Selden tries one last time to get Lily to choose love over lucre. She turns him down once again. And loses him, too.
Alone in her room, Lily realizes that all avenues to a “successful” marriage may now be closed to her. She returns to the city, determined to make her own way; her life ruined by the family curse, the fear of being poor. (MISS BART).
Rumors and scandal follow Lily from her financial dealings with Gus, to a Mediterranean cruise with the Dorsets, where Bertha covers up her own infidelities by accusing her guest Lily of designs on the meek Mr. Dorset. Her only hope of social acceptance is now her inheritance from dear departed Aunt Peniston, who recently changed her will. It only leaves Lily enough to cover her debts, leaving her forced to make her own living. She is advised that marrying Rosedale is now not such an impossibility, but even Rosedale now sees her as a social liability.
When Society washes their hands of her, she swiftly falls down the social ladder. first as a social secretary to a doubtful divorcée, then as an inadequate seamstress where she tries to make fashionable hats for a fashionable milliner.
When she fails even at that, she retreats into a dingy little room downtown, and takes the dreamy way out (IN LILY’S LAST ROOM). The aging, never quite beautiful but now quite famous and independent Mrs. Wharton finds comfort in her revenge on Gilded Age New York society. (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Coda)