When it comes to family, truth is usually stranger than fiction and when it comes to aristocratic socialite families, the truth gets stranger still.
It’s hard to imagine a stranger family than that of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie” Beale, close relations to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and the fascinating subjects of Grey Gardens, the cult classic 1975 documentary as well as the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name.
You can rent the documentary anytime, but if you want to see the stage version of the show, you’ll have to snap up tickets to the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of it at the Suzanne Roberts Theater where it starts a month-long run this Friday, May 22.
The musical delves into the curious lives and the dysfunctional relationship between the eccentric cat-loving recluses who spend their days holed up in Grey Gardens, their once magnificent Long Island mansion that has fallen into disturbing disrepair. While the physical world crumbles around the ladies as they sink from high society into the life of paupers, their creative, dramatic personalities remain very vivid and very much alive.
The musical opened on Broadway in 2006 and Time magazine named it its number one show of the same year. The fascination with the Beales has yet to end; Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore recently starred in an HBO movie based on the lives of the Edies.