Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
“The Robber Bridegroom,” a musical written by Alfred Uhry with music by Robert Waldman opens in the Dorothy Hackett ward Theatre on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus on April 8th and runs through the 16th, 2011.
MTI Shows says of this love story based on the novella by Eudora Welty from the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm:
A rousing, bawdy Southern fairy tale set in eighteenth century Mississippi, “The Robber Bridegroom” is the story of the courting of Rosamund, the only daughter of the richest planter in the country, by Jamie Lockhart, a rascally robber of the woods. The proceedings go awry, thanks to an unconventional case of double-mistaken identity. Throw in an evil stepmother intent on Rosamund’s demise, her pea-brained henchman and a hostile talking head-in-a-trunk, and you have the recipe for a rollicking country romp.
Professor Steve Ray who both directs and designs the set for this production, says that, “The Robber Bridegroom,” is not only based on great Southern Literature but also offers great Blue grass music featuring some of Chattanooga’s finest musicians with Musical Theatre teacher, Suzanne Carter conducting the cast. Sydney Roberts designs the costumes and Ray reports that she took the concept for her drawings from research of fairy tales featured in Children’s books and that he took his cues for the set design from her costume drawings.
Part of the play is set in 1795 in the Antebellum South or from Eudora Welty’s fairy-tale version there of. Professor Ray says that he and the cast also studied the many photographs that Welty had taken as a way to further inform their characterization of the old South.
Jonathon Yardley writes this about Welty’s novella:
As Welty’s career unfolded, it became clear that “The Robber Bridegroom” was unique among all her works, a startling and winning departure for a writer whose fiction mostly is deeply rooted in the realities of 20th-century small-town Southern life.
Listen to the story with Steve Ray and the cast singing during rehearsal with lead vocalist, Maggie McNulty :