‘Intimate and epic’ new musical about Tamara de Lempicka to debut on Broadway
Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, a musical tracing the life of Tamara de Lempicka is to debut on Broadway in March of next year.
Titled Lempicka, the show has already earned rave reviews following sold-out runs at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the La Jolla Playhouse.
Penned by Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould, the musical stars Eden Espinosa in the titular role, the musical is directed by Rachel Chavkin, winner of a Tony Award for Hadestown.
Previously named a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times, the show has thrilled both the public and cultural commentators.
“A singular boldness pulses through Lempicka,” wrote The Los Angeles Times, before describing the musical as “ambitious and complex as the painter it frames onstage.”
The New York Times, meanwhile, has spotlighted the performances of Eden Espinosa. “She has finally found a part to match her high-voltage talent in this rousing, surprising, intricately shaded portrait of a conquering heroine,” they wrote.
Billed as “a sweeping musical portrait of a woman who changed art and culture forever,” the news that the musical has been picked for the big stage has left theatreland buzzing.
Director Rachel Chavkin said: “Carson and Matt are visionary storytellers – Carson is an under-recognized leader in the new play field, known for exquisite sparseness and thematic density, and Matt is a wild heart whose music fuses contemporary vibes with classical musical theatre.”
Described by the director as “intimate and epic”, the musical sets out to explore “the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.”
Told through a pop-style score, the production spans several volatile decades that would forever shape the world.
Born in Warsaw in 1898, and christened Maria Gorska, Lempicka was the daughter of a Russian-Jewish lawyer and a Polish socialite. Sent to a Swiss boarding school at the age of 10, she is said to have painted her first portrait around the same time using her sister as a model.
In 1916 she went to live with an aunt in Russia and it was there that she married a Polish lawyer, Tadeusz Lempicki. When the Russian Revolution broke out, the young couple fled the ensuing terror to find refuge in Paris.
This was to be a life-defining twist. Mentored by painters Maurice Denis and Andre Lhote, Lempicka developed a unique style that has since been described as a fusion of late cubist and neo-classical techniques.
Having immersed herself in the Bohemian circles of Paris, her breakthrough moment arrived in 1925 when two of her works were displayed at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. Spotted by journalists from Harper’s Bazaar, her name was seized upon by an international audience.
Irrevocably associated with the Jazz Age, the Art Deco period and the Roaring Twenties, her adventurous and often licentious lifestyle were as compelling as her art.
Passing away in 1980, her mark resonates to this day whilst her work continues to be snapped up for astronomical fees by the likes of Jack Nicholson and Madonna.
Whilst adapting her life for the stage must have posed significant challenges, the results have been met with universal acclaim, not least by Lempicka’s descendants.
Speaking to the press, Marisa de Lempicka said: “When I first saw this show inspired by the life and times of Tamara de Lempicka, my great-grandmother, I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes.”
Continuing, she added: “We feel so happy and proud that Tamara’s art and life story keep inspiring new generations, almost one hundred years later, and that her resilience and creativity are being portrayed in this extraordinary production.”