Encores! Concert of No Strings, with Naughton and Days, Begins May 8

News   Encores! Concert of No Strings, with Naughton and Days, Begins May 8 James Naughton and Maya Days will star in the May 8-11 City Center Encores! concert staging of Richard Rodgers and Samuel Taylor's No Strings, whose orchestra, by design, literally has no strings in it.
James Naughton
James Naughton (Photo by Aubrey Reuben)

Also in the cast are Len Cariou, Caitlin Carter, Penny Fuller, Marc Kudisch and Emily Skinner. The musical will be directed and choreographed by Ann Reinking and conclude the 2003 Encores! season.

About an interracial love affair between a white novelist and a black model (the idea broke new ground 40 years ago), the show originally starred Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll in 1963 (she won a Tony for her work, as did composer-lyricist Rodgers). This was Rodgers' first show after The Sound of Music and the first after the death of his lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein II. It was a rare instance of Rodgers writing his own lyrics, though he also penned words for additional songs in the film, "The Sound of Music."

The Encores! show will mark a reunion between Chicago choreographer Reinking and her erstwhile Billy Flynn, Naughton.

This marks the final Encores! show presented under City Center president and executive director Judith Daykin, who is retiring this spring. Encores! was her brainchild more than 10 years ago and has become the biggest programming success in her tenure at City Center. The cavernous house was primarily known as a home for large dance troupes. The series celebrating "Great American Musicals in Concert" has earned international attention. A number of concert cast albums have been spun-off from the series.

Cariou was Sweeney Todd's first Demon Barber and most recently appeared on Broadway in Proof. Fuller is the veteran of such shows as The Dinner Party, Applause and Three Viewings. Marc Kudisch originated the role of Trevor Graydon (earning a Tony nomination) in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Skinner was seen this season in Dinner at Eight at Lincoln Center Theater. Carter is the oft-employed Broadway dancer who has landed spotlighted roles in Chicago and Swing!. Finally, Days has appeared in Rent and Aida.

Naughton directed the recent production of Our Town on Broadway and is currently editing a film version of the piece for Showtime. He appeared with his daughter Keira in the new play Roses in December Off-Broadway and returns to the cabaret scene this spring with a new show at the Cafe Carlyle.

Tickets for No Strings range $25-$85. Call CityTix at (212) 581 1212 or go online at http://www.citycenter.org.