Giant
Giant
Book by Sybille Pearson | Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa | Based on the novel by Edna Ferber
Based on the classic novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Ferber, GIANT is a new American musical that spans generations in an epic chronicle of the state that’s like no place else on earth: Texas. Amid a turbulent culture of greed, bigotry and money, a powerful cattleman, his new East Coast bride, their family and friends – not to mention their enemies – embrace and confront the joys and sorrows that loom as large as the state they call home. With a book by Tony-nominated bookwriter Sybille Pearson music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa (the five-time Tony-nominated composer of THE WILD PARTY and MARIE CHRISTINE), GIANT received rave reviews for its off-Broadway production at the Public Theatre and 9 Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Musical, Music, Lyrics, Book and Orchestrations. (Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes including one intermission)
Description Tags: Strong Role for a Leading ManStrong Role for a Leading WomanSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading ManStrong Role for a Leading WomanSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading ManStrong Role for a Leading WomanSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading ManStrong Role for a Leading WomanSpecific Minority CastingMusical DramaMusical DramaMusical DramaMusical DramaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaClassic BroadwayContemporaryCountry & Western/FolkOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayContemporaryCountry & Western/FolkOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayContemporaryCountry & Western/FolkOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayContemporaryCountry & Western/FolkOperetta/Operatic.
Cast Size: Large (14+)Large (14+)Large (14+)Large (14+). Vocal Demands: ModerateChallengingModerateChallengingModerateChallengingModerateChallenging. Dance Requirements: MinimalMinimalMinimalMinimal. Good For: Professional TheatreProfessional TheatreProfessional TheatreProfessional Theatre.
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  • Quotes
“Giant is the most important new musical to come along since The Light in the Piazza. It's a show of immense and fully realized promise. Michael John LaChiusa is one of the most prodigiously gifted musical-theater songwriters since Stephen Sondheim." — Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal, January 01, 1970
“Already one of the best musicals of the year! Wonderfully intimate and complex, Giant reaches peaks of genuine greatness.” — Huffington Post, January 01, 1970
“Breathtaking!” — The New York Times, January 01, 1970
“GRADE: A! Michael John LaChiusa has crafted one of the finest new american musicals in recent memory. He and book writer Sybille Pearson establish surprising depths – it is the story and its epic but human sweep that will draw you in.” — Entertainment Weekly, January 01, 1970
“Four stars! Michael John LaChiusa’s score spills over with emotion and yearning.” — New York Daily News, January 01, 1970
“It’s big! There is much to sing about in this highly ambitious new musical.” — NY1, January 01, 1970

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Writers Notes for Giant


Written By: Michael John LaChiusa

When Julie Gilbert, the grand niece of the novelist, Edna Ferber (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Showboat,” “Saratoga Trunk” among many others,) came to me over a decade ago with the suggestion that I adapt her aunt’s iconic, best-selling book, “Giant” for the musical stage, I was both flattered and terrified. I was familiar with the epic novel, as well as with the classic film starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean---but the very thought of trying to harness twenty-five years of Texan history, cattle ranching, oil drilling, racial disharmony, not to mention the anatomy of a marriage of opposites, was alarming. Impossible, I thought, and told Julie as much. But Julie is as stubborn as she is kind. A few years later, she came back to me and asked if I still might entertain the idea. I’d placed the novel on the “impossible” bookshelf that I reserve for musical ideas that I have no notion as to how to make happen, so, out of respect to Julie I figured it behooved me to re-read it. As it so often happens, something that fails to capture my imagination one day may suddenly trigger a different reaction in me a day later, sometimes a year or several years later. That’s life, I suppose; people change, with experience, on a daily, even hourly basis. A book you read when you are a teenager might have an entirely different meaning for you when you’re middle-aged; that book or even a movie or symphony or painting doesn’t change---you do, emotionally and psychologically, and you might find new meaning in the work. Re-reading Ferber’s novel, I heard music for the first time. Bick Benedict, scion of Reata, the largest cattle ranch in Texas, and his passionate, roller-coaster marriage to Leslie Lynnton, a Virginian-raised debutante, struck me as something I needed to sing about.  What looked impossible seemed (possibly) possible.

It was at the same time that The Shen Family Foundation provided the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia with a grant of monies that would provide three composers, including myself, financial support for four years to develop new musicals. Each musical would be fully produced by the theatre company. It was an “anything goes” grant: no restrictions. I was free to choose any project I wished, of any size and length. While reconsidering the novel “Giant”, I knew I was looking at something unusual (at least by contemporary musical standards) in structure: a three-act evening, possibly even a three-evening event, epic and vast, with a large company of actors and musicians. Big, like Texas. When I proposed the idea to Eric Shaeffer, the intrepid artistic director of the Signature Theatre, he didn’t blink. “Go for it,” he said.

But I couldn’t do it alone. I enjoy writing my own libretti, as well as lyrics and music, but it’s lonely going it alone. Collaborating with another writer, especially one you respect and who shares your taste and goals---and who can challenge you---that’s the ideal situation. I found an ideal collaborator in Sybille Pearson, who I asked to join me on this wild adventure. Sybille, pragmatic and smart, was well aware of the difficulties of what we were about to do, but she embraced the project with every ounce of her being. She came up with a structure that could rein in the many pages of plot, exposition, and character, allowing me to try to create the aural equivalent of Texas. We knew we weren’t going to have ten thousand heads of cattle on stage, or a hundred gushing oil wells. The challenge for me was how to turn Texas into music: the dust, the smell of oil, the heat, the prick of a cactus, the amazing blue of the Texan sky---what does that sound like? And most importantly, how do the souls of these heartbreaking, complex, beautiful (and, sometimes, very ugly) characters sing?

Sybille and I presented a first read-through of the show, warts and all, in 2007. We had arrived at a three-act structure, with two intermissions. That reading lasted five-and-a-half hours! Using one of my favorite musicals, Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella”, as a model, we began to scale back, rewrite and cut unnecessary and redundant song and dialogue. When we opened at the Signature Theatre in 2009, we had reduced the show to four-and-a-half hours; three acts, including two intermissions. Of course, we were concerned that audiences might not go on the ride with us for the entirety of the evening. We needn’t have been worried. The audience at the Signature Theatre accepted the epic nature of the show and it wasn’t rare to hear a patron say on his or her way out, “I didn’t want it to end.”

We set our sights on bringing the show to New York. Knowing that we wouldn’t have the luxury that was afforded us in Arlington, (especially where union rules and costs were concerned,) Sybille and I took on the challenge offered us by our director, Michael Greif, to turn our three-act version into a two-act, one intermission, three-hour show. It was a daunting challenge: what could we, should we cut to fit this new model? Michael’s reasoning was sound, though: we would always have our four-and-a–half hour, three-act version so why not create a shorter version that might be more accessible to more people. After all, to invest four-and-a-half hours in watching a musical is not something everyone has the time for, nor can afford. But would this compromise our original concept and goal of creating an epic? It was Ted Shen, whose foundation commissioned the original version, to whom I turned for advice. He thoughtfully weighed the idea and offered the example of “Porgy and Bess, “ George Gershwin’s classic opera. There is the full-length version, and a shorter version of “Porgy and Bess”, so why not have the same with “Giant”?

After several workshops and an out-of-tryout in, yes, Texas, at the Dallas Theatre Center, we were ready with our two-act version, which then began a limited run (later extended) at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, in New York City, October 26, 2012. A lot of material from the original Arlington production had been trimmed or cut entirely; and there were several new numbers as well. My concerns that the three-hour version might compromise the integrity of the original were unwarranted.Still, I’m partial to the original three-act version. I love its epic proportions, the sweep and breadth (and breath) of it. I like that we can spend more time with our characters, and more time experiencing time itself, if that makes any sense. Sybille and I, for this version licensed by Rodgers and Hammerstein Music Library, have chosen the New York premiere version, but it’s our intention to include several addenda for those theatre companies brave enough to take on the longer version. I’m still looking forward to seeing a two- or three-night version---one act per night. Why not? “Giant“ is, if nothing else, a musical about the endless possibilities of our country, as well as our dreams and desires. Dream big, I say. What might seem impossible just may be possible.


Performance Tools for Giant

Rental Materials for Giant

STANDARD

  • GIANT - Orchestration (17 Books/14 Players)
    • 1 – Reed 1 (Piccolo/Flute/Alto Flute/Clarinet (Bb))
    • 1 – Trumpet 1 ((Bb)/Flugel Horn)
    • 1 – Trumpet 2 ((Bb)/Flugel Horn)
    • 1 – Trombone (Bass Trombone)
    • 1 – Guitar (Nylon String, Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, 6 String Acoustic Steel (plus slide), Archtop/Hollow Body, Electric for 40's swing, early rock and roll and Texas Country)
    • 1 – Viola
    • 1 – Cello
    • 1 – Reed 2 (Flute/Clarinet (Bb)/Tenor Sax)
    • 1 – Reed 3 (Clarinet (Bb)/Bass Clarinet/Bassoon/Baritone Sax)
    • 1 – Bass (Acoustic/Electric)
    • 2 – Percussion I-II
    • 1 – Violin
    • 1 – Keyboard
    • 1 – Piano Vocal Score
    • 1 – Full Score, Act I
    • 1 – Full Score, Act II
  • GIANT - Rehearsal Set (30 Books)
    • 2 – Piano Vocal Score
    • 28 – Libretto Vocal Book
  • GIANT - Pre-Production Pack
    • 1 – Piano Vocal Score
    • 1 – Libretto Vocal Book
  • GIANT - Libretto Vocal Book 10 Pack
    • 10 – Libretto-Vocal Book

Cast Requirements for Giant

PRINCIPALS
1 Woman
1 Man

FEATURED
3 Women
5 Men

ENSEMBLE
6 Women
10 Men

CHARACTERS
(doubling is indicated by a slash)
Jordan “Bick” Benedict, a cattle rancher and heir to Reata
Leslie Lynnton Benedict, his wife
Jett Rink, a mechanic
Luz Benedict, Bick’s older sister
Uncle “Bawley” Benedict, Bick’s uncle
Vashti Hake Snythe
Mott “Pinkie” Snythe
Mike McCormack, a lobbyist
Mrs. Lynnton / Adarene Morley
Lil Luz Benedict, Bick and Leslie’s daughter
Jordy Benedict Jr., Bick and Leslie’s son
Bob Dietz Sr. / Bobby Dietz Jr.
Polo Guerra, a vaquero
Lupe
Juana Guerra
Angel Obregon Sr. / Angel Obregon Jr.
Dimodeo
Miguel Obregon, a vaquero
Clay Sullivan / Lord Karfrey
Heidi / Jett’s Wife / Lady Karfrey (Leigh), Leslie’s sister
Analita Sr. / Analita Jr.
Deluvina Obregon
Ensemble (2 Men, 2 Women)

Set Requirements for Giant

GIANT takes place in Texas between the 1920s and 1950s.

Materials Notes

GIANT Orchestrations

Orchestrations: Bruce Coughlin
Additional Orchestrations: Larry Hochman


Reed 1(Piccolo/Flute/ Alto Flute/Clarinet (Bb))
Reed 2 (Flute/Clarinet (Bb)/Tenor Sax)
Reed 3 (Clarinet (Bb)/Bass Clarinet/Bassoon/Baritone Sax)
Trumpet 1 (Bb)/ Flugel Horn
Trumpet 2 (Bb)/Flugel Horn
Trombone/Bass Trombone
Percussion 1 (see list below)
Percussion 2 (see list below)
Piano: Synth Keyboard (Piano, Harp, Celesta, Arco Strings, Pizz. Strings, Barroom Upright Piano, etc.)
Guitar (Nylon string, Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, 6 String Acoustic Steel (plus slide), Archtop/Hollow body
Electric for 40’s swing, early rock and roll and Texas Country)
Violin 1
Violin 2
Violin 3
Viola
Cello
Bass (Acoustic/Electric)

16 PLAYERS

Percussion 1: Drumset with hardware, 2 crash cymbals, Hi hat cymbals, 2 small trap tables, 2 bean pod rattles, Large Djembe (should have good low open tone too), Rain Stick, Triangle , Snake Rattle (Antelope toenails), Finger Cymbal (B flat or E flat +D), Beel tree china cymbal, 22” ride , 17” crash , Crash cymbal with bass drum mount, Slapstick, Maracas, Egg shaker

Percussion 2: Maracas, Able triangle (extra), 1 hardware mount extension, Auto Spring Coil, Brake Drum with sd stand, Marimba (4 1/3 octave), Slapstick, Cabasa, Xylophone (pit xylo with stand), Pair Caxixi, Djembe with stand, Triangle plus clip, Anvil, Set of Chimes , Orch bells plus Lp table stand (glock), 1 Susp cymb plus stand, 3 Granite blocks, Tam Tam (large-ish 32” or so) plus beater

Shared Percussion: Timps (26 and 32), Concert Bass Drum (with piatti mounted also), Vibes (make sure the motor works, multi speed (fast/slow options)), Mark Tree, Bell Tree, Taiko Drum, HI OCTAVE SET Crotales


Percussion 1: Drumset with hardware, 2 crash cymbals, Hi hat cymbals, 2 small trap tables, 2 bean pod rattles, Large Djembe (should have good low open tone too), Rain Stick, Triangle , Snake Rattle (Antelope toenails), Finger Cymbal (B flat or E flat +D), Beel tree china cymbal, 22” ride , 17” crash , Crash cymbal with bass drum mount, Slapstick, Maracas, Egg shaker

Percussion 2: Maracas, Able triangle (extra), 1 hardware mount extension, Auto Spring Coil, Brake Drum with sd stand, Marimba (4 1/3 octave), Slapstick, Cabasa, Xylophone (pit xylo with stand), Pair Caxixi, Djembe with stand, Triangle plus clip, Anvil, Set of Chimes , Orch bells plus Lp table stand (glock), 1 Susp cymb plus stand, 3 Granite blocks, Tam Tam (large-ish 32” or so) plus beater

Shared Percussion: Timps (26 and 32), Concert Bass Drum (with piatti mounted also), Vibes (make sure the motor works, multi speed (fast/slow options)), Mark Tree, Bell Tree, Taiko Drum, HI OCTAVE SET Crotales


Media Rights

Promotional

1. The Promotional Video shall be recorded and shown for the sole purposes of advertising your licensed production of the Play. For such a video, R&H allows theatres to film up to 10 minutes of total footage taken at either a performance or rehearsal (i.e.: 10 minutes of scripted moments.)

2. The Promotional Video may not include more than (i) 1 minute from any song or (ii) 3 minutes, in the aggregate, of footage of copyrighted material from the Play.

3. The Promotional Video may not include any sponsorship or underwriting without the prior consent of all R&H.

4. The Promotional Video must be submitted to R&H by sending the source video and video link to editor@rnh.com.

5. The Promotional Video must include the following: "Rights courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein, www.rnh.com"

6. Upon approval by R&H of the Promotional Video, you agree not to make any alterations in the approved copyrighted material used therein and you agree to obtain the prior written approval of R&H for any other use of the Promotional Video not specifically granted herein.

7. Upon termination of the Term, you shall cease to have any rights to use the Promotional Video including, without limitation, in connection with a future production of the Play, and shall immediately remove its content from any and all websites on the Internet.

8. You may not use a commercially available recording.

9. Any additional promotional rights must be approved by R&H by contactingTheatre@rnh.com.

 

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Archival

1. Subject to the information provided in Licensee’s application and payment of the fee as set forth in Paragraph 3 herein, Licensee shall have the right to create a single copy of the Video for internal archival, private viewing purposes at Licensee’s address only and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved.

WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine.

This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present Giant in order to license Archival rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.

Distribution

1. Licensee shall have the right to create the Video and to make up to one hundred (100) copies of the Video for sale at cost to its Members for internal archival, private viewing purpose at Licensee’s address and for private, home-viewing purpose by Members, and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone other than the Members (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved. WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine. This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present Giant in order to license Distribution rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.
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