John Doyle's Ten Cents a Dance, With Malcolm Gets and Donna McKechnie, Ends in Williamstown; It's NJ-Bound

News   John Doyle's Ten Cents a Dance, With Malcolm Gets and Donna McKechnie, Ends in Williamstown; It's NJ-Bound The Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Ten Cents a Dance, director John Doyle's tale of regret and musical memory set to the catalogue of Rodgers and Hart, packs up its trunk and sets its sights on the McCarter Theatre, where it will re-tune in September.

Lauren Molina and Donna McKechnie
Lauren Molina and Donna McKechnie Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Doyle (a Tony winner for Sweeney Todd) first staged the actor-musician piece at the U.K.'s Watermill Theatre in 2002. Utilizing the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for its score, Doyle returned to bring fresh life to Ten Cents a Dance, which debuted at Williamstown Aug. 11.

The musical was originally scheduled to close Aug. 28, but forecast weather conditions from Hurricane Irene prompted Williamstown to end the run following the Aug. 27 performances.

Critics praised the production, which traces the romantic life of pianist-crooner Johnny (played by Tony nominee Malcolm Gets) solely through music as he relives his past loves. The production is a co-presentation with the McCarter Theatre Center, where it will run Sept. 9-Oct. 9.

In addition to Gets (The Story of My Life), the cast also features Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) as Miss Jones Five, Lauren Molina (Sweeney Todd) as Miss Jones One, Jane Pfitsch (Company) as Miss Jones Two, Jessica Tyler Wright (Sweeney Todd) as Miss Jones Three and Diana DiMarzio (Sweeney Todd) as Miss Jones Four.

Click here to read Playbill.com's Brief Encounter interview with Doyle. "The casting has determined the difference [in the Williamstown production] to a large extent," Doyle told Playbill.com. "It is totally rearranged music. It's physically entirely different. Different designers. So, really, I went back to the material and started again, and I restructured quite a lot of who sings what. You know, when it was first put together, it was put together around six performers — I tailored it according to their particular skills, and I did the same thing again this time. The basic notion [is] of this man meeting this woman by the 'Blue Moon,' if you like, in the night, who he remembers and who has been a relationship in his life. It's a broken relationship. That still stands, and the reconciliation that comes through song is still pretty well the same, but I think this has got a great deal more of dramatic depth to it, really."

Here's how WTF bills the premiere: "Crooner Johnny wistfully recalls his lifelong love affair of chorus girl Miss Jones, who is embodied by five women, each portraying a different stage of her life. As Johnny and Miss Jones take 'Manhattan' under a 'Blue Moon' while 'Falling in Love with Love,' you can't help but think 'Isn't it Romantic?' — even if sometimes 'The Lady is a Tramp.' These and so many other unforgettable songs — filled with infatuation, longing, and enchantment — will sparkle like a glass of champagne on a sexy summer evening. 'All you need is a ticket, come on big boy, ten cents a dance.'"

The creative team includes previous Doyle collaborator Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who music-directs and orchestrates, as well as Scott Pask (scenic design), Ann Hould-Ward (costume design), Jane Cox (lighting design) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound design/composer). Dontee Kiehn is the movement consultant.

U.K.-born director Doyle, who staged the Broadway revivals of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Company, will next take on the composer-lyricist's short-lived musical Merrily We Roll Along at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in March 2012.

Doyle also collaborated with Sondheim on the 2008 Off-Broadway production of Road Show, which bowed at the Public Theater and debuted at London's Menier Chocolate Factory this summer. He earned a Tony Award for his direction of the 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd and also directed the Broadway musical A Catered Affair.

Visit WilliamstownTheatreFestival.

Diana DiMarzio, Donna McKechnie, Lauren Molina, Jane Pfitsch, Jessica Tyler Wright and Malcolm Gets
Diana DiMarzio, Donna McKechnie, Lauren Molina, Jane Pfitsch, Jessica Tyler Wright and Malcolm Gets Photo by T. Charles Erickson
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