Color Purple's Goldsberry Will Be the York's Baker's Wife

News   Color Purple's Goldsberry Will Be the York's Baker's Wife The lead role in the York Theatre Company's upcoming production of The Baker's Wife has been cast: Renée Elise Goldsberry, who created the part of Nettie in The Color Purple, will star in the title role.

Ren
Ren Photo by ABC

As previously reported, Max von Essen, who is currently playing Enjolras in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables, will play Dominique in the Oct. 26-28 semi-staged concert production, part of the York's Musicals in Mufti series. Von Essen, who previously played the role in the 2005 Paper Mill Playhouse production of the Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical, will be joined onstage by Lenny Wolpe (as the Baker) and Gay Marshall (as Denise). Both Wolpe and Marshall were also featured in the Paper Mill production, which was directed by Gordon Greenberg. Greenberg will direct here as well; Mark Hartman will be the musical director.

The York company will also include Kevin Cahoon as the Priest with Wendi Bergamini, Jacque Carnahan, Rick Crom, Betsy DiLellio, Joy Franz, Laurent Giroux, Mitchell Greenberg, Michael Medeiros, John O’Creagh, Richard Pruitt, Maureen Silliman and Clinton Zugel. The remainder of the cast will be announced shortly.

The Baker's Wife — with a score by Schwartz and a book by Stein — is based on the Marcel Pagnol-Jean Giono film "La Femme du Boulanger." The musical, according to production notes, "is a wry musical comedy about jealousy, lust, revenge and forgiveness. A new baker arrives in a rural French village just in time to ease the pains of the contentious villagers, who have been without bread for weeks. All is well and everyone's spirits are rising until the baker is driven to distraction and the villagers suffer the fate of breadlessness once again. To avoid yet more chaos, the villagers quickly join forces in order to bring harmony to their quaint town."

The musical features such tunes as "Gifts of Love," "Proud Lady" and the cabaret staple "Meadowlark." The original ill-fated Broadway-bound production, that never quite made it to Broadway, starred Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone and Paul Sorvino.

Renée Elise Goldsberry played Nettie in The Color Purple. She was also seen on Broadway as Nala in The Lion King, and she played Sylvia in the Public Theater's presentation of Two Gentlemen of Verona. She spent five years on "Ally McBeal" and was seen in the film "All About You." Goldsberry was Emmy-nominated last year for her work as Evangeline Williamson on "One Life to Live." All four fall Mufti offerings boast a book by Stein. The series began with Zorba and Enter Laughing: The Musical and will continue with The Body Beautiful (Oct. 12-14) and The Baker's Wife (Oct. 26-28).

Five performances of each show will be presented: Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2:30 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Audience discussions follow the matinee performances.

The Mufti series is presented at the Theatre at Saint Peter's, which is located at 54th Street, east of Lexington Avenue. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (212) 935-5820 or visit www.yorktheatre.org.

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"Mufti" means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings."