Encores! Season to Include One Porter, One Gershwin and Bye Bye Birdie

News   Encores! Season to Include One Porter, One Gershwin and Bye Bye Birdie
The hit City Center series Encores!, which presents great American musicals in concert, has announced its 2003-2004 season.

The acclaimed series will offer Cole Porter's Can-Can, the Gershwins' Pardon My English and the Michael Stewart-Charles Strouse-Lee Adams musical Bye Bye Birdie. The latter will be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, currently supplying the choreography to the revival of Little Shop of Horrors.

All three had been previously reported by Playbill On-Line as Encores! possibilities.

Can-Can will kick off the series Feb. 12-14, 2004. The Cole Porter musical originally debuted at the Shubert Theatre in May 1953, where it played 892 performances before closing in June 1955. Gwen Verdon was among the original cast of the musical, which featured such Porter tunes as "I Am in Love," "Allez-Vous-En, Go Away," "C'est Magnifique," "I Love Paris" and the title tune.

With a book by Herbert Fields and a score by George and Ira Gershwin, Pardon My English played a very brief run at the Majestic Theatre in 1933. The opening-night cast included Tony Blair, Jack Davis, George Givot, Cliff Hall, Betty Hamilton, Josephine Huston, William Lilling, Barbara Newberry, Jack Pearl, Carl Randall, Lyda Roberti, Wilma Roeloff, Eleanor Shaler, Harry T. Shannon, Gerald Oliver Smith, Robert Spencer and Ruth Urban. The Gershwin score featured "Isn't It a Pity," "The Lorelei" and "My Cousin in Milwaukee." Dates are March 25-28.

Bye Bye Birdie — about a rock star who travels to Ohio to bid farewell to his biggest fan before being drafted — debuted on Broadway in 1960 with a cast led by Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Gautier, Paul Lynde, Kay Medford, Michael J. Pollard, Susan Watson and Jessica Albright. The subsequent 1963 feature film starred Janet Leigh, Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, Jesse Pearson and Lynde. More recently, a 1995 telefilm directed by Gene Saks cast Jason Alexander, Vanessa Williams, Chynna Phillips, Tyne Daly, Marc Kudisch, George Wendt and Sally Mayes in the lead roles. Dates are May 6-10. The hit revival of Chicago, which was originally an Encores! presentation, is still going strong at the Ambassador Theatre. Another Encores! production, Wonderful Town, will begin performances this fall at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre starring two-time Tony Award winner Donna Murphy.

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