The musical performances are billed as "the culminating event of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan Theater's 75th Anniversary Season."
The company will include the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Martin Katz), University of Michigan musical theatre students and local celebrities, directed by U-M's respected head of the musical theatre program, Brent Wagner.
The 1956 musical, with book by Lillian Hellman and lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Hellman, Bernstein, John Latouche, and Dorothy Parker, is based on the picaresque Voltaire satire about optimism, and freely revels in the world of comic opera. "Glitter and Be Gay" is the famous showpiece of the score, which also spawned the anthemic "Make Our Garden Grow," plus "The Best of All Possible Worlds," "Oh, Happy We," "I Am Easily Assimilated," "You Were Dead, You Know," "Quiet," "Ballad of Eldorado," "What's the Use?," "Life Is Happiness Indeed," "Auto-da-fe," and more.
Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim, for director Harold Prince, contributed to a famous environmental 1974 revision, and Bernstein and Prince continued to tinker with new versions in subsequent years. Prince's so-called opera-house version for New York City Opera (later seen on Broadway in a Livent production) is somewhat different than what Bernstein would end up committing to a two disc studio recording before his death. Record stores are stocked with numerous international studio- or production-cast albums Bernstein's last revision, in 1989, is what will be heard in Ann Arbor; the so-called Scottish Opera version is a Michigan premiere.
Harvey Evans, who will portray Pangloss, the narrator and others, performed in the Broadway and the movie casts of Bernstein's West Side Story, and was in the original Follies.
Michigan Theater is at 603 E. Liberty Street in Ann Arbor, MI. For information, visit www.michtheater.org.