A Talent to Amuse: New Coward Revue Begins Chicagoland Run

News   A Talent to Amuse: New Coward Revue Begins Chicagoland Run Noël Coward's gossamer melodies and rueful lyrics — as well as his comic upbeat specialties — are heard anew in A Marvelous Party: The Noël Coward Celebration, making its Chicago area debut Dec. 7 in a co-production between Northlight Theatre and Geva Theatre.
From Left: Carl Danielsen, Anna Lauris and Mark Anders in A Marvelous Party: The No
From Left: Carl Danielsen, Anna Lauris and Mark Anders in A Marvelous Party: The No Photo by Tim Fuller

The revue, created with the permission of the estate of the late songwriter and playwright, premiered at Geva in Rochester, NY, earlier this year and has had some tweaks and revisions leading up to its Skokie, IL, now at Northlight.

Stories drawn from Coward's writings are included in the show. With the permission of the Coward estate, the fresh revue was devised by David Ira Goldstein, Carl Danielsen, Mark Anders, and Patricia Wilcox with musical arrangements by Carl Danielsen.

Performances play to Jan. 8, 2006, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Opening is Dec. 10.

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"This world premiere showcases the music of the enchanting Noël Coward in an exhilarating evening of song and sparkling repartee," Northlight promises. "With music hall energy and cabaret class, Coward's work stands the test of time. Add a charming cast and nimble choreography, and in the words of the man himself, 'You'll smile a little while' throughout this delightful revue." Northlight's BJ Jones said this production is especially notable since Northlight was able to negotiate with Coward's life partner Graham Payn and the Coward estate, to craft a new production composed of rarely-seen archival materials, plus Coward favorites. Jones said the production is dedicated to the memory of Payn, who died in November.

Jones said in an earlier statement, "There are some 40 to 50 requests for rights turned down yearly from the estate but I was able to convince them of the integrity of our director and the performers. With the blessing from the estate, director David Goldstein incorporates his personal vision to A Marvelous Party resulting in a production which highlights the extraordinary talents of Carl Danielsen, Mark Anders and Anna Lauris, and refreshes the spirit of Coward's original work for a new generation."

A Marvelous Party: The Noël Coward Celebration is directed by David Ira Goldstein. The ensemble cast includes: Mark Anders, Carl Danielsen, Anna Lauris and a live band.

The music director is Carl Danielsen. Patricia Wilcox is the choreographer. The designers are Bill Forrester (scenic), David Kay Mickelsen (Costume) Todd Hensley (lighting) and William Pickens (sound). The production stage manager is Kristi Martens.

Noël Coward was born in Teddington, England, on Dec. 16, 1899. He would become one of the English language's best known songwriters and playwrights in the 20th century. His songs include "Mad About the Boy," "A Room With a View," "I'll See You Again," "You Were There," "(Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage) Mrs. Worthington," "Sail Away," "Why Must the Show Go On?," "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "Matelot," "If Love Were All" and more.

In 1972 two compilations of his work, Oh, Coward! and Cowardy Custard, were produced in New York and London respectively. He died on March 26, 1973, in Jamaica.

David Ira Goldstein (director) has been artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company in Tucson and Phoenix since 1992, where he directed over 30 mainstage productions and produced over 125 other plays, workshops and presentations including two acclaimed appearances by the National Theatre of Great Britain.

Mark Anders (ensemble) recently performed in Oh, Coward! for Arizona Theatre Company. He previously worked with director David Ira Goldstein in a production of Cowardly Custard 18 years ago and more recently he worked with fellow cast member Carl Danielsen in 2 Pianos, 4 Hands (U.S. tour). In his native Seattle, he is known for his work at ACT, Intiman Theatre, The Empty Space Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre and Seattle Rep.

Carl Danielsen (ensemble/ music director) recently performed in Oh, Coward! for Arizona Theatre Company. His other credits include 2 Pianos, 4 Hands (US tour/Northlight), Singin' in the Rain, King Lear, Mary Stuart, Major Barbara, A Dream Play, A Dybbuk, Cole!, The World Goes 'Round, and 1776, among others.

Anna Lauris (ensemble) recently performed in Oh, Coward! for Arizona Theatre Company. Among her many credits are The Tutor, Dick Danger, Oliver!, Dames at Sea, The Sound of Music and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She has toured in Taiwan and Singapore with The Wedding Banquet and taught in Siberia, Russia.

For information, visit www.northlight.org.

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The show is expected to include the following:

ACT ONE
"Together with Music"
"London is a Little Bit of Alright"
"London Pride"
"Any Little Fish"
"Chase Me Charlie"
"What Ho! Mrs. Brisket"
"Would You Like to Stick a Pin in My Balloon?"
"Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?"
"Matelot"
"I Like America"
"Mad Dogs and Englishmen"
"Mrs. Wentworth-Brewster"
"The Coconut Girl"
"Welcome to Pootzie Van Doyle"
"Paddy Macneil and his Automobile"
"Swing Song"
"Lilies of the Valley"
"The Walla Walla Boola"
"Mrs. Worthington"

ACT TWO
Entr'acte
"Mad About the Boy"
"I've Been to a Marvelous Party"
"Why Do the Wrong People Travel?"
"Sail Away"
"There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner"
"A Room with a View"/"Dance Little Lady"
"Someday I'll Find You"
"I'll Follow My Secret Heart"
"If Love Were All"
"Nina"
"Let's Do It"
"The Party's Over"/"I'll See You Again"

The company's musicians are Kevin Disch (piano/conductor), John Tuck (bass) and Andy Hasenpflug (percussion).

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