*Violet* started its life as an off-Broadway musical in 1997. I’d never heard of it, but City Center did a one-night-only performance last summer with the great Sutton Foster, and the score is by Jeanne Tesori, who co-wrote *Caroline, or Change* with the amazing Tony Kushner - - so when I heard the show was coming to Broadway, I was intrigued. But as you know, I had lots of other shows to see this spring, so I waited for cheap tickets to become available. I saw it on Thursday 7/3.
I really loved it, it’s a beautiful show. The score is fantastic, really the star of the show. Lots of different styles, from country to folk to juke joint to a jaw-dropping gospel sequence at the end. But the songs all work together, because they work in service to the story. Sutton Foster was fantastic as Violet, the best performance of her career. My dear friend Frank thought she was too old for the part, and yes, she’s supposed to be in her 20s (and Sutton is in her 40s), but Madama Butterfly is supposed to be 15, does anyone expect that part to be played by a teenager? I will suspend my disbelief (especially in matters of age) from a sky-scraping height, if I feel the actor gets at the essence of the character. Foster nailed it, she was marvelous. Joshua Henry was also very good as one of the soldiers she befriends on her journey. He was a stand-out in *The Scottsboro Boys* and was also in *The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess*. He’s an appealing actor, there’s something warm and intensely likeable about him.