Bittersweet and Comic, A Marvelous Party Toasts Coward at Northlight in Illinois

News   Bittersweet and Comic, A Marvelous Party Toasts Coward at Northlight in Illinois
 
Northlight Theatre is readying its engagement of the world premiere co-production of A Marvelous Party: The Noël Coward Celebration, to begin Dec. 7 in Skokie, Illinois.

Geva Theatre in Rochester presented the first bow of the developing work earlier this fall, serving the delicious words and winsome melodies of Coward. Stories drawn from Coward's writings are included in the show. Some tweaks and changes will be made to the show before the Northlight bow, Northlight artistic director BJ Jones told Playbill.com.

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.

"This is 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 earlier this month. 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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