The Richard Rodgers centennial may end with the close of 2002, but that won't stop City Center Encores! from staging Rodgers and Samuel Taylor's No Strings in their 2003 season. Also to be included in the three show line-up of musicals in concert are The New Moon by Sigmund Romberg and House of Flowers by Harold Arlen.
The latter, a musicalization of a Truman Capote short story, will lead off the season, running Feb. 13-16, 2003. Capote wrote the lyrics and the book, and the show ran six months during the 1954-55 season. Kathleen Marshall will direct and choreograph the West Indies story of two competing brothels and one woman who leaves a life of prostitution for a different social trap as wife and in-law.
The New Moon will run March 27-30. The show boasts three lyricists—Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel and Laurence Schwarb—and will offer a rare peek at early Broadway musical fare, when operetta reigned. The New Moon, about a young man hiding from French authorities in 1790s New Orleans, played 500 performances in 1928, making it a huge hit for the time. It was also one of the last operettas to succeed on Broadway and one of the final triumphs of Romberg, who also wrote Blossom Time and The Desert Song. Gary Griffin, the hot-shot Chicago director of musicals, will make his Encores! debut with this work.
No Strings had been rumored for the 2001 Encores! season but was canceled when Vanessa Williams, the expected star, bowed out to do Into the Woods. The musical, about an interracial love affair between a white novelist and a black model, originally starred Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll in 1963. Ann Reinking will direct and choreograph the new staging.
—By Robert Simonson