Golden Boys? Charles Strouse Musical, Real Men, Gets World Premiere at Coconut Grove in 2004-05

News   Golden Boys? Charles Strouse Musical, Real Men, Gets World Premiere at Coconut Grove in 2004-05
Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami has two world premieres up its sleeve in 2004-05, including a new musical by Bye Bye Birdie composer Charles Strouse.

Real Men, the Strouse show, is billed as "a brand new musical made up entirely of brand new songs." It "explores the lives of men and their relationship with women, their children, their parents, and with each other over a lifetime."

"It's all getting more complicated," observed Strouse, in a statement in the March 4 season announcement. "Marriage is temporary, girls' navels are exposed on the street, and men kiss each other. So I've done what any man would do — write a show about it!"

Strouse, who is also a lyricist, composed the musicals Golden Boy, All American, Annie, Annie Warbucks, Rags, Applause and It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman! His most recent work (with longtime collaborator Lee Adams), Marty, played Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and is still aimed for a commercial run, though no Broadway plan has yet been announced. They are also working on a musical version of Dreiser's novel, "An American Tragedy."

Also on the 1,100-seat Coconut Grove mainstage are Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics; a world premiere play, Crush the Infamous Thing, "an homage to the screwball comedies of 1930s Hollywood jointly created and performed by members of the New York-based improvisational theatre troupe MADCAP"; Mitch Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher's Tuesdays With Morrie; Hoagy, a musical tribute to the legendary American songwriter Hoagy Carmichael; and W. Somerset Maugham's comedy of manners, The Constant Wife, a co-production with Walnut Street Theatre.

Ann & Debbie, a new play by Lionel Goldstein, author of Halpern & Johnson, will play the intimate Encore Room Theater. Dates, creative teams and an eighth show will be announced. Arnold Mittelman is producing artistic director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

The world premiere of Crush the Infamous Thing, by Tina Benko, Gabrielle Reznek and Sam Turich was "born out of the creators' love for classic screwball comedies." They pay homage to 1930s Hollywood, "a time when film comedies were deliciously sophisticated, dizzy and witty, just a little bit naughty, and utterly entertaining." The work "plays with our passion for celebrities and our obsession with their scandalous behavior. In the play, four of Hollywood's most fabulous stars find themselves in unflattering prison stripes, unjustly doing time — for murder. Taking matters into their own hands, they escape and in disguise, try to track down the real culprits."

The four members of MADCAP theatre company, three of whom wrote this play, have been working in New York theatre for nearly 10 years, creating multi-media and cross-genre projects. MADCAP develops its work "through a unique collaborative process that involves quick change, multiple roles, and remarkable versatility," and attempts to bring back "delectable elegance and double entendre to contemporary stage comedy."

Hoagy: The Hoagy Carmichael Musical was create by Bruce Dettman and William C. Trichon. It's billed as "a loving tribute and a grand entertainment" that focuses on the jazzy songwriter who penned "Georgia On My Mind," "Rockin' Chair," "Lazy River," "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," ""Skylark" and "Stardust."

In the tradition of Coconut Grove's Jolson and Company, Hoagie "chronicles the life and times of its title character, with a singer-actor giving a tour de force performance as Hoagie Carmichael, supported by another singer, dancers, and an on-stage band."

Ann & Debbie concerns "two women, friends for 18 years, [who] meet in a mid-town Manhattan hotel. What can they learn about each other that they don't already know? Quite a bit, actually, when they discover a shocking secret that threatens their relationship to the core."

It's billed as an "elegant and witty comedy about love, friendship, secrets, and lies" in which "people's most unexpected behavior becomes the most normal thing in the world."

For Coconut Grove Playhouse subscription information, call (305) 446-3857.

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