It's a Lovely War for Callaway, D'Abruzzo, Keating and McCartney Sept. 26 and 27

News   It's a Lovely War for Callaway, D'Abruzzo, Keating and McCartney Sept. 26 and 27 Pre-Broadway industry readings of Oh What a Lovely War will be presented Sept. 26 (at 8 PM) and 27 (at 2 PM) at the York Theatre.

Presented by Sharon Rosen in partnership with the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the readings will feature the talents of Stephanie Beatriz, Beth Beyer, Liz Callaway, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Nikki Renée Daniels, Leah Hocking, Emily Hsu, Isabel Keating, Liz McCartney, Gina Milo, Paige Price, Haviland Stillwell and Kate Weatherhead. Rosen directs.

About the all-female casting, Rosen said in a recent statement, "Casting entirely with women allows those that were left behind to tell the story. The women will take on each character as written, which brings a great deal of humility, truth and irony to the piece. An all-woman musical on Broadway is incredibly rare. My research leads me to believe that there hasn’t been an all-female musical on Broadway that wasn’t technically a revue. It’s very exciting. And although World War I began over 90 years ago, the nature of war has hardly changed. With light-hearted parody and realistic facts and projected photos, the satire in Oh What a Lovely War rings true and deep, even in these modern times."

Rosen plans to produce a Broadway revival of the 1964 musical Oh What a Lovely War sometime during the 2006-2007 Broadway season.

Oh What a Lovely War features a book by Joan Littlewood, Charles Chilton and Theatre Workshop, Inc. Popular music from that era — including "Pack Up Your Troubles," "Goodbye-ee" and "Keep The Home Fires Burning" — comprise the score. The upcoming production will feature musical direction by John Randall, scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Therese Bruck and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald.

The show was first performed by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal in 1963 and was her greatest success. A satirical chronicle of World War I, it tells the story of the conflict through parody songs and burlesque scenes, with the actors jumping from part to part. In the original production, the ensemble work Pierrot costumes while message periodically flashed the number of casualties. After productions in London and Paris, Oh What a Lovely War opened in New York at the Broadhurst Theatre on Sept. 30, 1964. The musical received four Tony nominations, including those for Best Musical, Best Director (Joan Littlewood), Best Featured Actress (Barbara Windsor) and Best Featured Actor (Victor Spinetti).

Broadway hasn't seen a production of the satirical show since David Merrick produced the British work at the Broadhurst, where it played 125 performances.

The subsequent film, directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, featured Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm and Susannah York.

The York Theatre Company is located at 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street. For more information call Snug Harbor Productions at (212) 354 6510.

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