Davis Gaines, who starred as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera more than 2000 times, moves from the Paris Opera House to Camelot in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The classic Rodgers and Hart musical plays San Francisco's Herbst Theatre Aug. 21-25 as a production by the 42nd Street Moon. Moon co-founder Greg MacKellan directs the staged reading, which offers the original, recently-restored 1943 orchestrations with full orchestra (conducted by Aaron Gandy).
Unlike most of 42nd Street Moon's productions (which are done with piano only), this event is an Encores!-style concert, with scripts in hand.
When playboy Martin Barrett gets knocked on the head and passes out, he literally becomes a Connecticut yankee in King Arthur's court, teaching the knights and the ladies how to swing dance, talk jive and use the telephone. Based on the Mark Twain story of the same title, Connecticut Yankee's score includes "My Heart Stood Still," "Thou Swell" and "To Keep My Love Alive." The 1943 revision of A Connecticut Yankee was Rodgers and Hart's last collaboration before Hart died.
Aside from Broadway's Phantom, Gaines led the company of Whistle Down the Wind in its world premiere in Washington, DC and played Cornelius Hackl in the recent Carol Channing revival of Hello, Dolly!. Joining him in the Connecticut Yankee cast are Lesley Hamilton, Bill Fahrner, Stephanie Rhoads, Christian Cagigal and Aaron Wimmer.
Completing the Moon's all Rodgers season are 1926's Peggy-Ann (Nov. 1-17) and Ever Green (Nov. 29-Dec. 15). The final offering, Ever Green, marks the American premiere of this 1930 Rodgers-Hart-Benn W. Levy musical and includes the tunes "Dancing on the Ceiling," "In the Cool of the Evening" and "The Color of Her Eyes." A non-profit company devoted to the preservation and performance of classic American musical theatre, 42nd Street Moon derives its name from the early moniker for the bright lights of New York's 42nd Street. During its first 10 years the company has presented nearly 60 staged concerts of rarely performed musicals.
For tickets, call (415) 255-8207. The Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue. 42nd Street Moon is on the web at http://www.42ndStMoon.org.
— By Christine Ehren
and Andrew Gans