Bob Gunton Is The Great Ostrovsky, Singing Cy Coleman Songs, at Philly's Prince; Pitre and Hadary In

News   Bob Gunton Is The Great Ostrovsky, Singing Cy Coleman Songs, at Philly's Prince; Pitre and Hadary In
 
Bob Gunton, Broadway's original Juan Peron of Evita, will take on the bigger-than-life theatrical title character in Cy Coleman's new musical, The Great Ostrovsky, premiering at Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia.
Cy Coleman
Cy Coleman

As previously reported, Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!) will appear in the new show, about the Yiddish theatre in the early 20th century in Manhattan.

The Great Ostrovsky had a private reading in Philadelphia Dec. 15, 2003, at Prince Music Theater in anticipation of the March 2004 world premiere there.

Composer and co-lyricist Coleman and book writer and co-lyricist Avery Corman were in attendance for the reading. Performances are scheduled for March 6-April 4. Opening is March 13.

Gunton was Tony Award-nominated for his work in Evita and a revival of Sweeney Todd. His Broadway credits also include Roza, Passion, Big River, Working, King of Hearts.

In addition to Pitre, Gunton's castmates in The Great Ostrovsky are Rachel Ulanet, Paul Kandel, Jonathan Hadary, Nick Corley, Daniel Marcus, Ed Staudenmayer, Jeff Edgerton and Kirsten Wyatt. The staging is co-directed and choreographed by Patricia Birch and co-directed by Douglas C. Wager. Designers are Zach Brown (set and costumes) and Howell Binkley (lighting). Music director is Steven L. Gross.

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Is The Great Ostrovsky a big, traditional musical comedy?

"It's not big," Prince producing artistic director Marjorie Samoff previously told Playbill On-Line. "And remember, this is the Prince: I don't know how traditional it's going to end up being. Although I love the traditional form, work here usually has a twist."

The show, with a cast of 12-14, is about a big personality from the New York Yiddish stage of the 1920s, but "it's really about the relationship of an artist to his audience and to big business. It's a period, but has some contemporary take. And it's funny — a happy ending."

In 2004, Prince Music Theater, which began as American Music Theater Festival 20 years ago, also offers a new musical version of the play, Gemini, and a production of William Bolcom's revised Casino Paradise.

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At various times in its development, The Great Ostrovsky was known as Ostrovsky and It's Good to Be Alive. At one point, it was mentioned as a vehicle for comedian-actor Alan King.

"Meet David Ostrovsky, an artist of monumental talent, with self-confidence to match, who suddenly finds himself fighting for his own survival in a bustling world of aspiring artists and hustling promoters, left-wing idealists and girls who just want to be stars," reads the announcement.

Known as a master melodist, composer Coleman is the Tony Award-winner who penned scores for The Will Rogers Follies, Barnum, I Love My Wife, Wildcat, On the Twentieth Century, Little Me and The Life. He is not known for writing lyrics for his musical projects, but did co-write the book to The Life.

For Prince Music Theater information, call (215) 569-9700 or visit www.princemusictheater.org.

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