Set in an 18th-century hospital for deserted children, Coram Boy tells the story of two young orphans from very different backgrounds who are thrown together by cruel circumstance.
It was adapted by Helen Edmundson from Jamila Gavin's award-winning book and first staged by the National Theatre, with a score by Adrian, in 2005. It opened on Broadway in 2007 where it was nominated for six Tony Awards.
The score (including quotations from Handel's Messiah and Theodora and more than an hour of original music consisting of songs, period-style dance, and chamber music, as well as dramatic underscoring) is designed to be flexible. In the National Theatre and Broadway productions, it was performed by a 16-member on-stage choir and a seven-piece chamber orchestra. In other stagings, the orchestra was expanded to 20 musicians and the choir augmented by a chorus of 40 performers.
Reviews"The most original feature of Edmundson's adaptation and Melly Still's... production is the way they make music a central motif."
"A thrilling piece of theatre.. an emotionally overwhelming production."
"Utterly compelling theatre... A big, boldly conceived piece of storytelling."