City Center to Present Evita; Encores! Season Will Include Mack & Mabel and Thoroughly Modern Millie

Encores! News   City Center to Present Evita; Encores! Season Will Include Mack & Mabel and Thoroughly Modern Millie
 
Ashley Park will take on the title role in Thoroughly Modern Millie; the production marks the launch of a new Encores! initiative.
Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone in Evita Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

Last season, City Center triumphed with an acclaimed revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line. The upcoming season's annual gala production will be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning 1979 musical Evita, directed by Sammi Cannold.

The sung-through musical, which helped launch the careers of Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, will be presented November 13–24.

The forthcoming City Center Encores! season will include three musicals: Love Life, Mack & Mabel, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, starring Mean Girls Tony nominee Ashley Park.

Ashley Park
Ashley Park Marc J. Franklin

Tony winner Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza, Titanic) will direct the rarely seen Kurt Weill-Alan Jay Lerner musical Love Life, which will run March 18–22, 2020. The 1948 musical explores the effect of modernization and industrialization on the American family over a period of 150 years. Clark recently directed a workshop production of the property at Duke University.

READ: Oscar Winner Helen Hunt, Hamilton’s Christopher Jackson and Javier Muñoz, More Set for Working at City Center Encores!

Mack & Mabel, which features a score by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, will be presented February 19–23. Based on the life of Hollywood producer Mack Sennett and silent screen star Mabel Normand, the musical opened at Broadway's Majestic Theatre October 6, 1974, where it played 66 performances before closing November 30. The original cast included Tony winners Robert Preston as Mack and Bernadette Peters as Mabel. Last year, Encores! included the musical in its revue of shows the organization has yet to produce, Hey, Look Me Over!

The Jeanine Tesori-Dick Scanlan-Richard Morris musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, which made a Broadway star out of Younger's Sutton Foster, will feature updates by playwright Lauren Yee, promising a “fresh perspective” to the 2002 musical comedy based on the film of the same name. Yee will collaborate with the original writers as creative consultant as part of a new Encores! initiative, allowing artists to put their personal stamp on beloved titles. Performances are scheduled for May 6-11.

"We are excited to launch this new Encores! initiative by exploring controversial aspects of this 2002 story in a way that makes sense for 2020," Park, who will take on the title role, said in a joint statement with Resident Director Lear deBessonet. "Millie reflects the engine that has long driven both women and immigrants to create lives for themselves in New York. This big sumptuous raise-the-roof musical deals with a moment in history when the ground was shifting in terms of gender roles and race—we love the show and are especially in love with presenting a Millie for today."

Additional casting for all four titles will be announced later.

Among the dance companies set to take the stage in the 76th season are Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Houston Ballet. The Fall for Dance Festival returns in October with a roster including Misty Copeland, Caleb Teicher, and Cats alum Georgina Pazcoguin; the latter will present a selection of Bob Fosse-choreographed dances originally performed by Gwen Verdon.

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