the book by Sherill Tippins, a musical version of "February House"
attracted full houses to the New York Public Theater during its
Spring 2012 season.
"February House" tells the story of visionary editor George Davis
who transformed a run-down Brooklyn boarding house into a bohemian
commune for some legendary residents of the early 1940s: novelist
Carson McCullers, poet W. H. Auden and burlesque queen Gypsy Rose
Lee, among others. These luminaries of 7 Middagh Street create a
makeshift family and refuge as they search for love and inspiration
in contrast to the looming war in Europe.
Inspired by the true events detailed in Tippins's book, "February
House" - a powerful and funny new musical about unlikely housemates
- marks the first commission of
The Public's Musical Theater
Initiative and it is presented in association with the Long Wharf
Theatre. The play is directed by David McCallum with music and
lyrics by Gabriel Kahane and a book by Seth Bockley. The cast
includes Julian Fleisher (George Davis), Kristen
Sieh (Carson McCullers), Ken Clark (Reeves McCullers) and Erik
Lochtefeld (W.H. Auden).
Sherill Tippins appeared at the annual Carson McCullers birthday
celebration on the weekend of February 17, 2012, in Columbus,
Georgia, hosted by The Carson McCullers Center, a Southern Literary
Trail partner. Tippins writes in her book: February was a month of
birthdays at 7 Middagh Street -- so many that Anais Nin would later
call it "February House." By the winter of 1940-41, Tippins adds,
the remarkable and dilapidated house in Brooklyn "had developed a
reputation as the greatest artistic salon of the decade."
McCullers wrote of her reflections on life at 7 Middagh Street in
her article "Brooklyn is My Neighborhood": Comparing the Booklyn
that I know with Manhattan is like comparing a comfortable and
complacent duenna to her more brilliant and neurotic sister.
Smith-McCullers House, childhood home of Carson McCullers
95th Birthday Celebration (View
Page and contents by permission of The New York Public Theater,
all rights reserved.
Poster image courtesy of The Carson McCullers Center, Columbus,
Ga., all rights reserved.