When Eugenia Kelly, a young New York City heiress, became entangled in an affair with a seductive tango dancer, her distraught mother had her arrested and charged with incorrigibility. The court case scandalized the nation in 1915, and inspired the new musical Kelly v. Kelly, which reveals the story of a mother and daughter divided by passion, money, and what it means to be a woman at a time of huge societal change.
Kelly v. Kelly is the latest collaboration by Britta Johnson and Sara Farb, two of Canada’s most celebrated musical theatre voices. After Britta Johnson and Sara Farb worked together on several short musicals, The Musical Stage Company has commissioned them to create a full-length production that weaves text, music and choreography to explore the complex relationship between mothers and daughters.
The Musical Stage Company is the largest and leading charitable musical theatre company in Canada. Established in 2004 as Acting Up Stage Company, it strives to make Canada a leader in musical theatre by incubating Canadian musicals from development to production, investing in Canadian musical theatre writers, and building national and international partnerships. To date, its productions have been recognized with 82 Dora Award nominations, 18 Dora Awards and 16 Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards.
The National Creation Fund’s investment of $151,000 will give the creative team the opportunity to come together for several writing retreats to fine-tune the script, and to experiment with staging and design during an extended workshop period. The Fund’s investment also makes it possible to expand the creative team to include a world-class music supervisor and a dramaturg.
Kelly v. Kelly is part of the Crescendo Series, a three-year commitment by The Musical Stage Company to produce the work of Britta Johnson and her collaborators.
Commissioned by the Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals, funded by The Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation.
Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.
May 26 to June 18, 2023: World Premiere, Berkeley Street Theatre (Toronto), in partnership with Canadian Stage