Barzee, Parry and Bullock to Star in Irish Rep's Take Me Along Feb. 20-April 13

News   Barzee, Parry and Bullock to Star in Irish Rep's Take Me Along Feb. 20-April 13 Broadway veterans will star in Take Me Along, songwriter Bob Merrill's 1959 musical version of Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!, in a new revival by Irish Repertory Theatre starting Feb. 20.
William Parry
William Parry

Playing the friends, family and Connecticut community in the fictionalized (and warm) account of O'Neill's own boyhood will be Teddy Eck, William Parry (the original Sunday in the Park With George), Donna Bullock (Ragtime, A Class Act), Dewey Cadell, Noah Ruff, Don Stephenson (Dracula, By Jeeves, The Producers), Beth Glover (Off-Broadway's Counsellor-at-Law), Anastasia Barzee (Jekyll & Hyde, White Christmas), Justin Packard and Emily Skeggs.

Irish Rep is located in Manhattan at 132 West 22nd St.

The show's libretto is by Joseph Stein and Robert Russell. The original Broadway production starred Jackie Gleason as Uncle Sid and Robert Morse as hormonal Richard.

The production will officially open Feb. 28. Performances play to April 13. Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore directs. Musical direction is by Mark Hartman.

"Take Me Along takes place in Centerville, Connecticut in a happy time," according to Irish Rep. "It's the Fourth of July and the flags are flying! Sid Davis, the profligate brother returns from Waterbury hiding a secret which will affect the whole Miller family. Richard, the 17-year-old self-named romantic poetry devotee pledges his troth to Muriel, his 16-year-old swain with the cry, 'Live, Muriel, Live!!!' That's before he is caught proposing not only marriage, but suggestions of a more immediate intimacy. Mirroring the teenagers, a somewhat more mature relationship flounders when Sid arrives 'high as a kite' and unable to keep his date with the beautiful Lily, who broke off their troubled marriage plans a decade ago. The Miller family came to Eugene O'Neill in a dream...his words...a dream that O'Neill treasured as the family he always wished for." The Irish Rep creative team includes set designer James Morgan, costume designer Linda Fisher, lighting designer Mary Jo Dondlinger, sound designer Zachary Williamson, choreographer Barry McNabb, wig and hair designer Robert-Charles Vallance, stage manager Rhonda Picou and assistant stage manager Arthur Atkinson.

Bob Merrill was an American pop songwriter ("How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?"), theatrical composer and lyricist, and screenwriter. He made his Broadway debut in 1957 with New Girl in Town, a musical adaptation of O'Neill's Anna Christie. His other credits as composer-lyricist include Carnival!, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry, Sweet Henry and Hannah…1939. His most famous musical is Funny Girl, for which he wrote lyrics ("People," included) to composer Jule Styne's score. Styne and Merrill also penned the scores for Prettybelle and Sugar.

Merrill was nominated for the Tony Award eight times. Following years of ill health, he committed suicide in 1998.

Take Me Along includes such gentle tunes as "We're Home" and "Promise Me a Rose," as well as the title number and the boisterous "Sid, Ol' Kid" and "Volunteer Firemen Picnic (Ladies With a Liberal Point of View)" — the latter recently referenced in the animated TV series "Family Guy."

Take Me Along will play Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $60 and $55 and can be purchased by calling The Irish Repertory Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737. For group sales of 20 or more contact Jen Nelson at (212) 255-0270, ext. 22. For more information visit www.irishrep.org.

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