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A Love Letter to Audrey Hepburn Premieres as Part of Creative Cauldron’s “Bold New Works” Series

A Love Letter to Audrey Hepburn Premieres as Part of Creative Cauldron’s “Bold New Works” Series

Audrey: The New Musical
Creative Cauldron
Jordan Wright
May 18, 2022
Special To The Zebra

Santiago Alfonzo Mesa and Rebecca Ballinger (Photo by William Gallagher)

Audrey: The New Musical is Danielle E. Moore’s paean to the late stage and screen star. Moore, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, is a young writer and producer whose ambitious project and fondness for Ms. Hepburn gave her the inspiration to create this musical based on the extraordinary life and fascinating relationships of the actress and noted humanitarian. Produced as part of Creative Cauldron’s “Regional Bold New Works” program, the production is directed by Laura Connors Hull who had her hands full putting in place a lot of moving parts from a large cast, tons of choreography by Morgan Arravillaga, and a host of musical numbers (for some unexplained reason unlisted in the program). That there is enough material in Hepburn’s life to form an entire show, of that there is no doubt. Yet the writer’s job of condensing her career while still including the many facets of her wartime experiences in Nazi-occupied Holland, appears monumental.

Front Row: Bianca Lipford, Rebecca Ballinger, Lindsey Jacobsen, Lenny Mendez Back Row: Santiago Alfonzo Meza, Ricky Drummond, Tyler Cramer. (Photo by William Gallagher)

As a young girl living under extraordinarily dangerous conditions Hepburn worked for the Dutch Resistance relaying messages to the opposition, even losing a member of her own noble family to the Nazis, all while studying for a career as a ballerina. Moore splits Audrey’s life in two presenting us with Audrey as the young ballet dancer (Morgan Arrivillaga) alongside her rise to Hollywood stardom and peppering the plot with a compilation of the many familiar faces of the period including her domineering husband, Spanish actor Mel Ferrer (Santiago Alfonzo Meca); William Holden (Ricky Drummond), a serial womanizer; Colette, the celebrated French writer who penned Gigi, Hepburn’s first Broadway show, and who wrote Ondine, one of Hepburn’s earliest film successes. Subsequent stars whirl in and out of her life – Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Warner Brothers studio head, the bombastic Jack Warner and Edith Head (Bianca Lipford) who as one of the most famed costume designers in Hollywood designed many of Hepburn’s looks for film. Even Givenchy, the Paris fashion designer whose glamorous designs she wore both in an out of her films is featured as is Rex Harrison who starred with her in My Fair Lady which earned her a second Academy Award.

Rebecca Ballinger and Garrett Matthews (Photo by William Gallagher)

There’s a lot of Audrey’s life represented here including the constellation of celebrities she knew, all crammed into this musical about a woman whose career didn’t end on the stage and screen and who was beloved later in life as representative for UNICEF while traveling the globe on humanitarian missions. But the musical does feel like let’s-throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-on-the-stage and see what sticks. And that’s the dilemma. What’s important? What’s exciting? What yields the most drama/comedy/pathos/humor? It’s all here, and much of it is interesting. Lots to process. Yet, I’d prefer to see it pared down. Is a bit with Marilyn Monroe really necessary? Do we need to meet all those famous men in Audrey’s life? Too many to reflect on. Why toss in Ella Fitzgerald (Cynthis Davis) who appears in a Paris café for two numbers? What’s the point? There is enough material here for two separate musicals (I was relieved not to witness a reenactment of Audrey’s funeral). It’s a Herculean effort that needs refinement. But, wow! I was mightily impressed with the effort and felt if a more senior production team were involved, this could see a Broadway stage someday. The concept is very clever and the writing and research show that Moore has done her homework on her idol.


All that said, huge kudos to Costume Designer Margie Jervis, who does double duty as Scenic Designer, and whose elegant costumes in the My Fair Lady’s Ascot Races scene were spot on as well as creating the Givenchy (Tyler Cramer) look-alike dresses and a few 1950’s Edith Head designed costumes taken from Audrey’s films. Smaller details were noticeable in the props where period movie cameras and flashbulb-popping handheld cameras used by reporters in trench coats were perfectly retro. And an extra special shout-out to the Stage Manager (Nicholas J. Goodman) who had too many cues to count.

The locally known cast did a bang-up job on the small stage, but the star of the show was clearly the delightfully pixie-like Rebecca Ballinger who nailed Audrey’s clipped British accent and snappy repartee. So well-cast, she even had Audrey’s swan neck, feathery qualities and lithe figure.

Through June 4th at Creative Cauldron, 410 South Maple Avenue, Falls Church, VA 22046. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 436-9948 or visit

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