|Christine Ebersole as Little Edie Beale, in Grey Gardens. There are many, many musicals out there based on films, but this appears to be the only one based on a documentary.|
The musical chronicles the dysfunctional relationship between two society mavens, mother and daughter, both named Edith Bouvier Beale. They were Jackie Kennedy's aunt and cousin, so when their reclusive lifestyle and dilapidated living conditions were reported by the National Inquirer in the early 1970s, they received national attention. Grey Gardens became a documentary film in 1975 and has since gained cult status.
|The Beales are catnip to actresses. This 2009 TV film won the Emmy, as did Jessica Lange as Big Edie and Ken Howard as Phelan Beale, the patriarch who deserted his family and set their downward spiral in motion.|
This week's star, Christine Ebersole, was already a Tony winner when she won again for Grey Gardens (her first award came for the revival of 42nd Street).
The inspiration for the song which was featured at the 2007 Tony Awards, and is this week's Dance Party, comes directly from the original documentary film. As a preamble, take a look at this very short clip from the original, in which Little Edie explains the reasoning behind her "costume for today."
And now enjoy Ebersole's performance of the song which sprang from that brief encounter with Little Edie. Yep, that costume is indeed revolutionary, but the real attraction of this clip is the quietly compelling performance of our star.