THE PRINCIPLE WIFE
Book & Lyrics by Taylor Vaughn & Mark Greenhalgh
Music by Jonathan Keith
Survival in the American West of the 1800s meant sacrifice. But when Rebecca fell in love with Benjamin Tanner she had no idea that sacrifice would mean sharing him with a second wife, Sarah–and then a third–Elsa. Neither did Rebecca foresee the attractive lure of Erastus Lowe, the government’s appointed informer who would break his own rules to gain her affection.
How these courageous women learn to live and love under one roof is the unexpected story of what defines a family—both then and now. They are defined by the strength of their convictions, an opposing government fueled by salacious gossip, and the harsh desert where they struggle to make a home. Only love can help them to overcome impossible odds.
In the tradition of Musicals like "Fiddler on the Roof," The Principle Wife puts an end to the notion that plural marriage is still endorsed or promoted today. It is an entertaining and positive response to the salacious perspectives that dominate current cultural outlooks.
World Premiere of New Musical The Principle Wife
to Take Place at Covey Center in July
A Story of Love and Perseverance That Overcomes the Most Difficult Obstacles
Provo, Utah, June 22, 2023—The new musical The Principle Wife will have its world premiere at the Covey Center for the Arts from July 7-31, 2023. With book and lyrics by Taylor Vaughn and Mark Greenhalgh, and music written by award-winning composer Jonathan Keith, this show shines a spotlight on a sensitive subject in a sincere, yet humorous way.
Set in Southern Utah in the late 1800s, The Principle Wife centers around the love story of Rebecca and Benjamin as they embark on a journey of living “the principle” known as plural marriage. At a time when they face severe difficulty and uncertainty, could adding more members to the household really be the answer? Observe as three women forge an unlikely sisterhood to build a family with strength and resilience.
According to Vaughn, the script began as a screenplay three decades ago. “We began talking about developing The Principle Wife when we were still in college. We were thinking about our legacy and asked, ‘What is the one story we would like to be known for?’” After several attempts to make it into a feature film, the writers believed the story would be best told as a musical. Keith’s music brings nuance and emotion to the already complex piece. There have been staged readings at the Pasadena Playhouse, USC and the American Heritage School in American Fork, Utah in recent years.
The cast is led by Twyla Wilson as the title character Rebecca. She is joined by Ethan Kelso as Benjamin, Erin Wilson as Sarah, Mattie Grace as Elsa and John Donovan Wilson as Erastus. Other members of the cast include Yahosh Bonner, Tanner James, Chris Higbee, and Julie Webb Burgess.
The production is directed by Tanya Behunin, with Keith as Musical Director and choreographed by Jamie Kalama. Set design is by Jay Richards, sound design by Dan Morgan, costume design by Jannette Lusk-Unterborn, properties design by Mariam McCann and stage management by Chandra Orme.
Performances will be held from July 7-31, 2023, on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $49 and are available online at https://coveycenter.csstix.com and in person at the Covey Center box office. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Please no babies or babes in arms. The Covey Center is located at 425 West Center Street, Provo, UT 84601.
For more information visit www.theprinciplewife.com/press
Listen to a selection of original music from The Principle Wife
by award-winning composer, Jonathan Keith.
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