Alger Kids Will Sing Cohan Tunes in New Musical Bowery Boys for Marriott

News   Alger Kids Will Sing Cohan Tunes in New Musical Bowery Boys for Marriott A new musical featuring one of Horatio Alger's famous rags-to-riches characters will get its world premiere in 2008 as part The Marriott Theatre's season in Lincolnshire, IL.

The Bowery Boys, boasting songs from the George M. Cohan catalog, will begin Dec. 10, 2008, toward a Dec. 17 opening, with a run to Feb. 19, 2009.

Not related to the famous "Bowery Boys" film series of the same name, the new musical is based on a story by 19th-century populist writer Horatio Alger, famed for his optimistic tales of newsies and bootblacks in old New York.

According to Marriott, The Bowery Boys "follows the journeys of Dick Hunter, a street wise kid, and Mary, a young British heiress cruelly abandoned on the mean streets of Manhattan. In this world of Diamond Jim Brady, Tammany Hall and the notorious Five Points, The Bowery Boys is a celebration of immigrant children discovering how to live, strive and thrive on the streets of New York City on their quest to become true Americans. The Bowery Boys boasts a rich score of beautiful melodies and vibrant dances inspired by and adapted from the songs of George M. Cohan…"

Expect to hear "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Yankee Doodle Boy" and "Mary Is a Grand Old Name."

This isn't the first time (and probably will not be the last time) Alger characters have made their way to the musical stage. The Broadway-aimed Shine!, with a book by Richard Seff, lyrics by Lee Goldsmith and music by Roger Anderson, also borrows the Dick Hunter (aka "Ragged Dick") character.

Shine! was announced for Broadway in 1982 but got scuttled when producer 20th Century Fox went through management changes and the theatre division was disbanded. The show was produced in 1983 at the Virginia Museum Theatre in Richmond, VA, featuring George Lee Andrews and Alix Korey.

Following Richmond, several new songs were written, others restored or scrapped. A reading directed by Jay Binder was seen in 1998 at Off Broadway's York Theatre Company, featuring Christopher Fitzgerald, Zach Braff and Laura Benanti. In 2001 Shine! was seen in a National Musical Theatre Network showcase. Peter Flynn directed and Georgia Stitt musical directed, with newcomer Jeremiah Miller playing Dick. The performance was recorded and released by Original Cast Records in October 2001. Shine! also had an NMTN reading presentation in Chicago. The show was published by Samuel French in 2002.

The 2008 Marriott season will also includes Les Miserables (Feb. 13-May 11, 2008); a 20th anniversary presentation of the Off-Broadway musical hit Nunsense (May 14-July 14, 2008); the David Yazbeck-Terrence McNally musical The Full Monty (July 16-Sept. 21); All Shook Up, the rock 'n' roll musical comedy using songs made famous by Elvis (Sept. 24-Dec. 7, 2008).

The Marriott Theatre's leadership team includes Terry James, executive producer; Andy Hite, artistic director; Aaron Thielen, artistic director.

The Marriott Theatre calls itself the most subscribed musical theatre in the country with more than 40,000 subscribers. It offers a limited number of new subscriptions available for purchase each fall. To be put on the waiting list, call (847) 634-0200. (After the theatre's 2007 subscribers renew, the waiting list will be given priority.)

For more information, visit www.marriotttheatre.com.