LOS ANGELES -- Reprise! Broadway's Best in Concert series will kick off its 1999 season March 12, 1999 with the twentieth anniversary production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, starring Kelsey Grammer, Christine Baranski, Davis Gaines, Dale Kristien and Melissa Manchester.
Though all other shows on the '99 schedule will be presented in the mid sized Freud Auditorium on the UCLA campus, Sweeney Todd will be seen in the 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre. Concert performances are March 12 at 7.30 PM; March 13 at 2 & 8 PM; March 14 at 2 & 7.30 PM.
Opening night tickets range from $70-$30, with a gala performance and party option honoring Sondheim and the stars of the show going for $250. Hosted by Carol Burnett, the gala benefits Reprise! and the ASCAP Foundation. The Sweeney Todd information hotline is (310) 664 1453.
Grammer stars as TV's "Frasier," Baranski's NY stage credits include The House of Blue Leaves and Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Manchester and Jeffrey Sweet penned the Off-Broadway musical, I Sent A Letter To My Love. Gaines, who's played The Phantom of the Opera more than 2000 times, won a Bay Area Critic's Award for Best Actor as the Phantom and was the eighth actor to take the role on Broadway, where Gaines also played the suitor Raoul. Other credits include the lead in the Washington DC Whistle Down The Wind, Cornelius in Carol Channing's Hello, Dolly!, and Camelot with Richard Burton.
The other shows on Reprise's '99 schedule are: Bells Are Ringing (May 12-23); The Boys From Syracuse (Sept. 22-Oct. 3); and Fiorello, Nov. 10-21. Series orders only until Jan 11, when individual tickets go on sale. Call (310) 825-2101 after Dec. 7, 1998. "As we enter our third year, we are deeply gratified and excited to see the support L.A. has given us from the beginning," said producing artistic director Marcia Seligson. "Our renewal rates last year were over 97% -- the highest of any major theatre company in L.A. We think it's because our subscribers share our passionate goal to create an ongoing home for musical theatre in our city."
Reprise! is a not-for-profit organization. Tax deductible contributions to the company help it meet expenses not covered by ticket sales, and also help to bring musical theatre programs to a new generation of students in L.A.'s local schools.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent