Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

‘Grey Gardens' Blooms at The Ahmanson

The fascinating documentary of a mother, a daughter, and their complicated relationship flowers upon the stage.

Theater mavens have become accustomed, in recent years, to seeing cinematic treats transformed into lavish productions for the stage.

Those movies tend to be of the fictional variety — and there's been a lively run of animated blockbusters, too, that have found a home in front of the footlights — but finding a musical that springs from a documentary is rather rarer.

For sure, hits like "Hamilton" and "Evita" both spring from history, but "Grey Gardens" is known to most people as a 1975 film documentary detailing the moving and complicated lives of a mother and daughter living in East Hampton.

It was first adapted into a musical a decade back. Now the tale is set to enthrall audiences at The Ahmanson via the performances of two stellar leads: Betty Buckley and Rachel York.

Indeed, Ms. York does hail from "City of Angels" on Broadway, and Ms. Buckley? She garnered a Tony for her turn as Grizabella in "Cats."

Michael Wilson is the director of "...this haunting and often hilarious musical" which "recounts Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' most eccentric relatives' fall from society darlings to notorious recluses in their crumbling East Hampton estate."

Memory, family, former glory, money, and all of those tangly knots that challenging relationships can produce lend much of the musical its wryness, dryness, and stirring emotional core. 

Spend the summer in East Hampton, or at least a night with two legendary residents of the town, a fascinating mother and daughter who became well-known to legions of documentary watchers over the last few decades. 

The rare real-life portrait flowers on the stage through Sunday, Aug. 14.

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