A Face In The Crowd (musical)

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2024-09-00 A Face In The Crowd poster.jpg

Elvis Costello has written at least 18 songs for A Face In The Crowd, a stage musical based on Budd Schulberg's story originally published as Your Arkansas Traveler and adapted into the 1957 film A Face In The Crowd written by Schulberg, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Andy Griffith.

The musical's book is written by Sarah Ruhl, who had previously collaborated with Elvis on an unfinished musical about WHER, the all-female Memphis radio station.

An invitation-only reading of A Face In The Crowd was held in New York on June 10, 2016. The New York Post reported that Elvis and his backers wanted Hugh Jackman to star. The Swiss newspaper Zürich Tages Anzeiger reported the musical was expected to premiere in 2017. In December 2017, Broadway World reported that the project would be going into its third workshop in the near future.

Elvis premiered nine of the songs in concert in the spring of 2016 and an additional song in the fall of that year. He continues to play them live.

A detailed article about this project can be found at the ecsongbysong blog.

In a 2018 interview with the Irish Examiner, Elvis said: "The truth of it is that Schulberg was an extremely smart writer about human nature. If he were to be alive today he would probably include social media along with television and radio in this story — the ability to shape opinion but similarly create monsters.”

Elvis performed an eight-song A Face In The Crowd set backed by Rob Mathes, a chorus, and Rebecca Lovell on February 13, 2023 at New York's Gramercy Theatre.

A production of A Face In The Crowd directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah is scheduled to run from September 10 to November 9, 2024 at London's Young Vic Theatre. The cast includes Ramin Karimloo as Lonesome Rhodes and Anoushka Lucas as Marcia Jeffries.

Songs played live

  • Vitajex, premiered April 13, 2016 in Jackson, concerns the miracle pill featured in A Face In The Crowd. (Vitajex is also the subject of song in the film, but Elvis' song is an original.)
  • American Mirror, premiered April 17, 2016 in Bellingham, could be another Marcia Jeffries song, or possibly for Mel Miller, the character played by Walter Matthau in the film.
  • The Last Word, premiered May 31, 2016 in Brescia, is sung by Lonesome Rhodes on his radio show. Budd Schulberg's original short story describes Lonesome Rhodes singing a song with the lyrics "never leave a first love just to have the last word."
  • Big Stars Have Tumbled, premiered June 4, 2016 in Zaragoza, is sung by Lonesome Rhodes and was introduced as "the moment when the devil is humbled and taken down." When Elvis performed the song for a Rosanne Cash webcast, she introduced it as the last song in A Face In The Crowd.

Released songs

Unheard songs

An additional six songs were registered with ASCAP at the same time as most of the songs listed above. It has not been confirmed that they are also associated with A Face In The Crowd. These songs have not been heard publicly.

  • Don't Put Me On
  • How Could You Know? (possibly an alternate title for The Whirlwind)
  • Miss Hot Mischief (American Truth)
  • Nice Guys Come Last
  • Why Don't You Jump In?
  • We'll Make A Man Out Of You

Internal links

External links