Following its mounting of Girl Crazy, CA's 42nd Street Moon offers the rarely-revived Redhead, winner of the 1959 Best Musical Tony Award. Gwen Verdon originally starred in this musical about a woman who has visions of a killer stalking Victorian London. Lesley Hamilton now has the role, Sept. 2-20, opening Sept. 3.
Though Redhead won the Tony (a year after The Music Man and a year before Fiorello!), the vehicle -- written for Bea Lillie but starring Verdon -- has never been revived on Broadway, and rarely elsewhere. Verdon played Essie Whimple, a worker in a wax museum who tries to solve the murder of a local music hall dance while pursuing the man of her dreams.
The score, by Albert Hague and Dorothy Fields, includes "Look Who's in Love." Other Hague scores include Plain and Fancy, Cafe Crown and TV's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The book was written by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, Sidney Sheldon (the famous mystery novel author) and David Shaw.
Co-starring with Hamilton in Redhead are Pierce Brandt, Greg MacKellan, Steve Patterson, Coralee Persse, Ruth Robbins, Tom Elliott, Sharron Drake, Robin Steeves, George Quick, Arwen Anderson and Jessie Gray. Dennis Licktig directs the piece, which features choreography by Jayne Zaban.
Another Dorothy Fields' musical, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, sprouts Sept. 30-Oct. 18, opening Oct. 1. Shirley Booth starred in the 1951 premiere of this musical drama about a troubled marriage in turn-of-the century New York. Cole Porter's 1933 Nymph Errant was a London hit for Gertrude Lawrence but didn't have an American staging until the early 1980s. Songs in the show, running Oct. 28-Nov. 15, opening Oct. 29, include "It's Bad For Me" and "The Physician."
Finishing the Moon season will be Call Me Madam, a satire of Washington politics. Meg Mackay will take on the Ethel Merman role as the "Hostess With The Mostes'" Nov. 25-Dec. 20, opening Nov. 25.
Founded in 1993, 42nd Street Moon recently released its first CD of the "Lost Musicals Recording Series," Something for the Boys. Moon co-founders Greg MacKellan and Stephanie Rhoads received a special Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award in 1996 for the company's work.
For tickets ($16.50-$20; $99 subscriptions) and information on 42nd Street Moon's "Delicious Dames Of Broadway" series, call (415) 861-8972. For more information on other performances taking place at SF's New Conservatory Theatre on Van Ness Ave, please refer to the regional listing on Playbill On-Line.
-- By David Lefkowitz