Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Broadway: Non Binary Tony Award Star J. Harrison Ghee Revives Interest in Musical Version of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”


You may remember how Lady Chablis, a real person, became a national sensation after appearing in the John Berendt best seller, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Chablis was in every gossip column thirty years ago.

Then came the Clint Eastwood directed movie, starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack as the actual two main characters. Lady Chablis was used for spice and entertainment. CHablis Deveau — who ultimately died in 2016 — played herself. She was a trailblazer. Chablis was indeed one of the first transgender performers to cross over into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, in Savannah, Georgia, “Midnight” tours and merchandise became their own economy.

Now a Broadway team will try and workshop a musical this week of “Midnight” here in New York. Stephen Pasquale will play the part of Berendt (Cusack in the movie). But the top billing now goes to Lady Chablis, played by recent Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee. With Ghee’s award for “Some Like it Hot” making them/him hot hot hot right now, it seems like Lady Chablis will be the show stopper in this musical. (I’m surprised Billy Porter isn’t doing this since Ghee has “SLIH.”)

Director is Rob Ashford, music and lyrics are by Jason Robert Brown, and Taylor Mac — who wrote very bad “Gary” A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”) with Nathan Lane — just the memory of it is upsetting — is the book’s author.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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