The Theatre Wing at Manchester Community College
in Manchester CT

April-May, 1998

The Spring '98 production The Theatre Wing at Manchester Community College in Manchester CT was a world premiere musical titled, Came So Far for Beauty, The Music of Leonard Cohen. The Theatre Wing, which is the college's theatrical production arm, received permission to develop and perform a musical theater piece which traces Cohen's musical and spiritual journey.

Came So Far for Beauty included twenty of Cohen's songs in new settings and arrangements, plus some short excerpts from his writings, performed by a company that mixes professional and student actors. The production was developed by local artists--Kathy Keena, former Artistic Director of the Calliope Feminist Theatre and Shakespeare Hartford, Steve Starger, playwright, musician, and jazz columnist for the Hartford Advocate, Clark Bowlen, Theatre Coordinator, and Deborah Simmons, Music Coordinator at the College--and featured Herman Shemonsky, who has performed through out New England, including at the Hartford Stage and at The Yale Repertory Theater.

Here is the set list: Act I: Overture, Came so far for Beauty, Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy, Chelsea Hotel, Winter Lady, Hey, That's no Way..., Stranger Song, Famous Blue Raincoat, There is a War, Heart with no Companion, Don't Go Home with Your Hard-on, and Closing Time. And Act II: First We Take Manhattan, Leaving Greensleeves, I'm Your Man, Jazz Police, Everybody Knows, Waiting for the Miracle, Came so far for Beauty (Reprise), Dance Me to the End of Love, Tower of Song, Hallelujah, and Dance Me to the End of Love (Reprise)

A review written by Dick Straub, and Lizzie Madder's report on the May 2 (1998) meeting is in the Fandom section of these Files.

More information on Dick Straub's cyberTribute page