Certainly no title could be more apt for Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones than The Show Goes On. After all, their Off-Broadway musical, The Fantasticks turned 37(!) in May and shows no sign of stopping.
Now librettist/lyricist Jones and composer Schmidt will step in front of the curtain to speak about and sing tunes from their long career -- one that's included such shows as I Do! I Do! (revived Off-Broadway last season), Philemon, Celebration and 110 In The Shade. Current projects include Grover's Corners and Mirette.
Initially scheduled to be the last show of the 1996-97 season, The Show Goes On now opens the York's 29th year, beginning Dec. 10, opening Dec. 17, and running to Jan. 18, 1998, with a possible extension.
Also helping sing such songs as "Try To Remember" and "My Cup Runneth Over" will be Jo Ann Cunningham, of Broadway's Anna Karenina and the first Yul Brynner revival of The King And I. Cunningham replaces Dee Hoty (Will Rogers Follies, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public), who left during rehearsals.
Reached the day after the show's first two previews, Cunningham told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 11), " Both audiences seemed to like it very much. Tom and Harvey are very engaging." Cunningham sings "Simple Little Things" (from 110 In The Shade), a verse of "Raunchy," "Under The Tree" (Celebration), the bluesy "Loneliness" (from a previous Schmidt/Jones revue), and "Decorate The Human Face" & "The Room Is Filled With You" (from Collette/Collage). Cunningham told Playbill On-Line that unlike many revues, which feature suits and skirts in the first act and evening-wear in act two, this show requires numerous costume changes. "We have a basic pair of pants," she said, "but there's so much that goes on over them."
Also in the show are Emma Lampert and J. Mark McVey (a Les Miz Valjean). Directing the piece is Drew Scott Harris, who helmed Ain't Broadway Grand.
Says Jones, "For years, we've wanted to put together a special theatrical evening of our songs. The York has been very good to us over the years and seemed a natural venue."
To catch up on Jones & Schmidt's career, see the feature The Fantastick World of Jones & Schmidt in Playbill On-Line's Theatre Features area.
Designing the show are James Morgan (set), Suzy Benzinger (costumes) and Mary Jo Dondlinger (lighting).
For tickets ($30-$35) and information on The Show Goes On or other shows in the York's 29th season, playing at St. Peter's Church at the Citicorp Center on Lexington Avenue, call (212) 935-5820.
-- By David Lefkowitz