Video: Beth Malone will return to 'Molly Brown' in St. Louis

Beth Malone talks about playing Molly Brown at The Muny in St. Louis this summer. Video by David Lenk and John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

Colorado may be Molly Brown’s home, but her next residence will be in her birth state of Missouri. And once again, Tony Award nominee Beth Malone will be playing history’s most unsinkable socialite.

Two years ago, the DCPA Theatre Company launched a completely re-imagined The Unsinkable Molly Brown, directed by Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall and featuring both a new book by Dick Scanlan and a recalibrated Meredith Willson score that includes new songs from the Willson catalog. Marshall called the result “Americana at its best: Big, strong, open-hearted and optimistic.”

The production was well-received at the DCPA but Molly_Brown_Beth Malone_JK_800its creators were intent on incorporating lessons learned from Denver toward the eventual goal of a larger life on the national stage. The next step in that journey was announced recently when The Unsinkable Molly Brown was included on the 2017 season for The Muny this coming July 21-27. Located in St. Louis, The Muny is America’s largest outdoor musical theatre.

Marshall again will direct, along with Scanlan and Music Director Michael Rafter. The Muny introduced Malone at an event tonight to announce her return to the role. Full casting will be announced at a later date.

Malone said she realized a lifelong dream when she was cast in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 production. “For me, that was the culmination of my entire career. It was a giant gift from God and the universe plopped right in my lap. It was amazing.” Shortly after, she was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award for her work in Fun Home.

Of the St. Louis production, she added, “This is a very exciting next move for this piece, and I am very excited to get in the room again and work on it and put it up again.” 

The Unsinkable Molly Brown tells the story of perhaps the most colorful woman in Colorado history. The original 1960 Broadway musical was beloved by some but was also problematic. The musical tells the story of a Hannibal girl who went to Colorado and married a miner who became fabulously wealthy. But unlike others in her position, Brown opened a soup kitchen and fought for immigrants. Ultimately she boarded the Titanic but survived, rescuing others in the process.

“It’s a classic American musical: beautiful and heartfelt,” said Mike Isaacson, the Muny’s artistic producer and executive producer. “And what Dick has done with it is extraordinary.”

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Full photo gallery: Beth Malone in Denver:

Beth Malone in Denver

The photos above follow Beth Malone’s time performing as Molly Brown in Denver, visiting Brown’s adopted hometown of Leadville, Colorado, and returning both for Denver Broncos national anthems and to sing the praises of ‘Fun Home.’ Photos by John Moore and Jennifer M. Koskinen. To see more photos, click the forward arrow in the image above.

Scanlan, a three-time Tony Award nominee also wrote the book for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and other musicals.

“Dick has kept the songs you love…and hopefully he’s gotten rid of the ones you don’t,” DCPA Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson said.

Meet the cast video series: Beth Malone

In Molly Brown’s 1932 obituary, The Denver Post’s Jack Carberry wrote: “She was a pot rustler who, shamed by her ignorance, mastered music, literature and the arts to storm the portals and pass the barriers of society.”

But while Scanlan promises audiences will see a much deeper Molly Brown than they did in the 1960 original, The Unsinkable Molly Brown remains very much a musical. And a musical comedy at that.  
This Molly Brown is still unsinkable, Malone said, “but it’s based more on the historical facts, and the real-life love affair between Molly Brown and JJ Brown.”

“This is not a documentary,” Marshall added. “This is a historical fiction. This is the journey of Molly Brown as a woman, and her marriage.”

That means this is also a romance.

“Oh it is very much a romance,” Scanlan said.

Malone credits her time with Molly Brown in Denver for setting her on the path of her Tony Award nomination for Fun Home.

“I have to say that doing Molly Brown and have it be a success on the level that it was really helped me walk back into the Fun Home rehearsal knowing that I could lead a cast,” said Malone. “Molly Brown and that whole experience at the Denver Center bolstered my confidence in my bones.”

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

Beth Malone sings two songs from The Unsinkable Molly Brown:

In the video above, Beth Malone appeared at the 2015 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, where she sang two songs from the show. Watch for at the very beginning, and again at the 2:45 mark. Video by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

Selected previous Beth Malone coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:

Selected previous Molly Brown coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter:


More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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