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Original PosterThe Ballad of Little Jo

A musical: music by Mike Reid; Libretto by Sarah Schlesinger; based on the film by Maggi Greenwald.
Presented as part of the City of London Festival - Bridewell Theatre, London 1 - 26 July, 2003.

Director: Carol Metcalfe
Decor: Kate Bannister, Karl Swinyard
Costumes: Martin Robinson
Lighting: Hansjörg Schmidt
Sound: Tony Gayle
Choreography: Sam Spencer Lane
Musical Director: Michael England
Fights: Cameron Kendrick
Assistant director: Paul Griffiths

The cast - Kieran Brown, Mark Carroll, Karen Evans, Anna Francolini, Gavin James, Abigail Langham, Jason Lee Scot, Ellen O'Grady, Audrey Palmer, Craig Pinder, Daniel Reeves, Phong Truong, William Wolfe Hogan

The American premiere at Steppenwoolf Theatre was nominated for eight Jefferson awards, including Best New Work and Best Musical Production. Grammy winner Mike Reid has written 21 number one songs – including Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. Sarah Schlesinger is the Chair of Music Theatre at the Tisch School in New York and won the coveted Edward Kleban Award for Most Promising Lyricist for her early work on The Ballad of Little Jo


Original London Cast

Daniel Reeves - Lawrence Monaghan
Craig Pinder - Judge James Monaghan
Anna Francolini - Josephine Monaghan
Abigail Langham - Kate Monaghan
Jason Lee Scott - Kate's Fiance
William Wolfe Hogan - Photographer
Audrey Palmer - Photographer's Wife
Craig Pinder - Thomas Harrison
Gavin James - Homer Burns
William Wolfe Hogan - Lee Gibbs
Ellen O'Grady - Marian Cummings
Audrey Palmer - Caroline Williams
Karen Evans - Sara Stewart
Samuel Manisty/Monty Tang - Young Tien Mein Wong
Kieran Brown - Jordan Ellis
Mark Carroll - Daniel Leary
Jason Lee Scott - Ernie Stratton
Gavin James - Ethan McClellan
Daniel Reeves - Tommy Kelly
Craig Pinder - Percy Corcoran
William Wolfe Hogan - Clem Byrne
Ellen O'Grady - Elvira
Abigail Langham - Another Whore
Jason Lee Scott - Walter Travers
Phong Troung - Tien Mein Wong
Audrey Palmer - Cora Reilly
Ellen O'Grady - Arla Stratton
Abigail Langham - Jeannie McClellan

The astonishing true story of Jo Monaghan - a young woman who lived as a man in the silver mines of Idaho in the 1890s.

After a disastrous love affair and the birth of son, Josephine Monaghan heads west from Boston with nothing but hope in her pockets. In a desperate act of self-protection she transforms herself into Little Jo, living and working as a man in Silver City. When the mines close, Jo risks losing the community’s grudging acceptance of her and finds her self-belief put to the test when she offers a home to a Chinese orphan.

This accessible and appealing new musical weaves a landscape of passion, grit and beauty with an emotional impact that deftly probes the complexities of the human heart. The music ranges from beautiful and lyrical ballads to true toe-tappers, all rooted in the ballads, hymns and drinking songs that form the palette of American folk music.

In the story Jo is really Josephine, the tearaway younger daughter of a Boston judge. By the age of 17, Josephine has had a baby, left home to make her fortune, been robbed, raped and disfigured, and adopted a disguise as a man.

Jo has to make her way in harsh world of silver mining, learning how to wield a pickaxe and to cope with the initiation rite of a being contest. Jo hankers after the handsome Jordan who is pursuing Sara, who fancies Jo! But all this is set against the sheer precariousness of staying alive and the rise and fall of the miners' fortunes.

The troubles of the Irish miners who have been the subject of prejudice become prejudiced themselves making a local Chinese man their scapegoat when desperate Chinese labourers agree to work the mine for half-pay.