In its annual reading series, the Drama Dept. will be getting on The Band Wagon.
No, not a staging of the Fred Astaire movie, but a staging of the Fred Astaire musical from 1931, which many regard as the best revue to ever grace Broadway. Kathleen Marshall will direct the as-yet uncast musical which features sketches by Howard Dietz and George S. Kaufman, lyrics by Dietz,and music by Arthur Schwartz. Among the beloved songs are "Dancing in the Dark," "New Sun in the Sky" and "I Love Louisa." The performance is Oct. 20. Kathleen Marshall directs.
The original Broadway cast also included Adele Astaire, Helen Broderick, Frank Morgan and Tilly Losch.
The Drama Dept. Scored a success a few years back with another storied review, Irving Berlin and Moss Hart's As Thousands Cheer. For the other four readings, the Drama Dept. has lined up Cynthia Nixon, Mary Testa, Matthew Broderick, Dana Ivey, J. Smith-Cameron and Ana Gasteyer.
On Oct. 6, Nixon and Peter Frechette will star in George Bernard Shaw's Village Wooing, directed by David Warren. On Oct. 7, Drama Dept. will remember the age of burlesque and an aged subscriber who recently passed away, leaving behind a series of sketches and bawdy songs, with The Burlesque Project. The revue, directed by Jeremy Dobrish, will feature Kelly Bishop, Robert Ari, Brooks Ashmanskas, Becky Ann Baker, Bryan Batt, Debbie Gravitte, Peter Jacobson and Mary Testa.
J.M. Barrie's rarely seen What Every Woman Wants follows Oct. 14 with Broderick, T. Scott Cunningham, Ivey, Smith Cameron and Remak Ramsey. Christopher Ashley directs.
On Oct. 19, Drama Dept. artistic director Douglas Carter Beane will contribute a series of related sketches styled on 1960's "shock-u mentaries," entitled Mondo Drama. "Saturday Night Live"'s Gasteyer stars.
— By Christine Ehren
and Robert Simonson