The character-rich story-songs of Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire will be heard Nov. 12-Dec. 13 in Lexington, KY, when Actors' Guild of Lexington revives the duo's 1970s revue, Starting Here, Starting Now.
Cindy Blake, Norma Jean Jordan and Tom Hayward are the show's performers, playing a collection of New Yorkers singing Maltby and Shire's mini-dramas about modern life. Although the pair wrote songs for the book musicals Big and Baby, they are perhaps best known for their revue work in Closer Than Ever (OB 1989-90) and Starting Here, Starting Now (OB 1976-77). Barbra Streisand recorded the title song.
Some of their revue material consists of songs pulled from or not used in their produced and unproduced book shows. Coincidentally, Shire and Loni Ackerman perform The Story Goes On: The Music of Maltby and Shire Nov. 24-Dec. 13 at Off-Broadway's Kaufman Theatre.
Starting Here by Actors' Guild of Lexington is directed by Russell Henderson, with musical direction by Karen Snider. Percussionist Marcus Reddick rounds out the company. Designers are Gion DeFrancesco (set), Jamey Halley (lighting) and Lexington Costume Co. (Costumes).
Actors' Guild was founded in 1984 to present Off-Broadway-style theatre in the Lexington area. The nonprofit troupe's space at 139 W. Short Street is a flexible black box theatre seating 100-120. Producing director Deb Shoss told Playbill On-Line Nov. 12 the seating is arranged in either proscenium style or stadium style (with the audience facing each other). Shoss took over the artistic helm of the non-Equity company in April. She will direct Arthur Kopit's Wings later this season.
Shoss said Actors' Guild's previous mandate was to try to stage "compelling, contemporary" works written within the past five years, "but let me tell you how limiting that is for good plays." She said she may program an American classic in the future, but "probably not" something as mainstream as, say, Neil Simon's early work.
Tickets are $10-$15. Call (606) 233-7330 for information.
* Also on the 1998-99 slate:
*Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson March 4 April 4, 1999
*Wings by Arthur Kopit April 22-May 23, 1999
*Mud River Stone by Lynne Nottage June 10-July 11, 1999
The season opened with a Sept. 24-Oct. 25, 1998 run of Christopher Kyle's The Monogamist.
-- By Kenneth Jones