City Center Encores!, the musicals-in-concert series which regularly sells out its brief three-show schedule every spring, will, for two nights this fall, not limit itself to a trio of titles but instead look back at the entire history of musical comedy during the 20th century. The event is called "City Center Encores!' Broadway Bash" and, true to Encores!' archival mission, will feature "re-discovered gems from some of this past century's forgotten musicals."
Lending their voices on Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:30 PM will be such past Encores! participants as Gary Beach, Kristin Chenoweth (On a Clear Day...), Jason Danieley, Melissa Errico (One Touch of Venus), Christopher Fitzgerald, Randy Graff (Do, Re, Mi!), Alix Korey, Howard McGillin (The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936), Donna Murphy (Wonderful Town), Vanessa L. Williams (St. Louis Blues, the upcoming No Strings), Carol Woods, and Karen Ziemba (The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936). Rob Fisher and The Coffee Club Orchestra accompany as usual. Kathleen Marshall directs.
The shows will spotlight music from nearly every decade of the last century. Selected composers include Victor Herbert, Richard Rodgers, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Cy Coleman, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Charles Strouse, Meredith Willson and Galt MacDermott.
"Discovering and rediscovering great music from the bottomless treasure trove of American musical theatre is a great adventure," says artistic director Jack Viertel in a statement. "While we fall in love with dozens of shows, we can only present three during the annual Encores! season. [This] gives us an opportunity to share with our audiences some of the musical gems from some of the great shows we've uncovered." 2002 will mark Encores!' ninth season. Notable triumphs during the past eight years include a staging of One Touch of Venus which conferred star status upon Melissa Errico, a version of The Boys From Syracuse which invigorated Rebecca Luker's career, a revival of Chicago which transferred to Broadway (where it still runs) and Wonderful Town starring Donna Murphy.
Tickets are $45 (mezzanine) and $25 (gallery) and are available at the City Center box office or can be purchased by calling CityTix at (212) 581 1212 (toll-free outside NYC, NJ and CT at 1-877-581-1212). Tickets can also be ordered online at www.citycenter.org. $80 tickets in the orchestra and grand tier are sold out, but a limited number of center orchestra Patron tickets, which include cocktails before the performance and invitation to the cast party afterwards, are available for $350 ($250 tax deductible). —By Robert Simonson