Howdy, Neighbor! M-G-M's "Summer Stock," Once a Garland Vehicle, Adapted for Stage

News   Howdy, Neighbor! M-G-M's "Summer Stock," Once a Garland Vehicle, Adapted for Stage Creators of a new stage version of the 1950 M-G-M movie musical "Summer Stock" are hoping an industry audience will "get happy" enough at an August reading of the developing show to give it a wider future. The score will feature songs from the movie plus newly written numbers.
Promotional art for
Promotional art for "Summer Stock"

This new adaptation, also called Summer Stock, has book by Sam Scalamoni and Jeffrey Haddow (Chekhov in Yalta) and ten new songs by composer Thomas Tierney (Eleanor, Narnia) and lyricists Tierney and Haddow. Scalamoni directs. Casting will be announced.

The movie starred Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Garland was a frumpy Connecticut farmer who reluctantly let her sister (Gloria De Haven) and her summer-stock actor pals (including Kelly and Phil Silvers) put on a show in their barn. Garland inevitably became the star of the revue-style extravaganza, singing one of her signature movie-musical hits, "Get Happy," by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. The movie score featured songs by a handful of writers including Mack Gordon and Harry Warren and composer-lyricist Saul Chaplin. "Get Happy" was an added specialty, filmed weeks after principal photography had ended; by then, Garland had slimmed down.

Four songs from the film remain in this stage adaptation, including "Get Happy."

The Manhattan presentations for an invited industry audience will be Aug. 6 at 3 PM and Aug. 7 at 1 PM at the New 42nd Street Studios.

Casting for a troupe of 15 is by Arnold Mungioli/Mungioli Theatricals. Music direction is by Gary Adler (Avenue Q, Altar Boyz). The reading is being presented by Tim Smith, Kevin & Dorian Corcoran, Skyline Theatre Company and 6th Avenue Productions.

Scalamoni and choreographer Kate Swan began collaborating on this project in 2006 and have been in development with Haddow and Tierney since 2007. This will be the first industry presentation of the dawning project.

Director Scalamoni is a founding member and managing artistic director of Skyline Theatre Company, and served as the associate director for Elton John's Broadway musical Lestat and Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He directed two readings of Alan Menken's new Broadway musical Leap of Faith, and the original workshop of Mulan Jr. for Disney Theatrical. This fall he will direct a reading of a new musical based on Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility and in 2010 will helm a new live touring show for Nickelodeon.

"Summer Stock" the film also includes the songs "(Howdy, Neighbor) Happy Harvest," "If You Feel Like Singing, Sing," "Dig-Dig-Dig for Your Dinner," "You, Wonderful You," "Friendly Star," "Mem'ry Island," "All for You" and "Heavenly Music."

The soundtrack was recently reissued on the Rhino label.