Beggar's Holiday, Duke Ellington's musical resetting of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, will get a revival March 1-10 at Los Angeles' Rubicon Theatre Company with Jesus Christ Superstar's Carl Anderson as Macheath. Beggar's Holiday is the first in the company's new "Lost and Found" concert stagings of forgotten tuners ala the Reprise! or Encores! series.
A controversial production when it debuted in 1946 (the show featured Broadway's first interracial kiss), Beggar's Holiday tells the familiar tale of mobster and lover Macheath, his three women, their tough lives among the lower class city dwellers and a barely escaped execution that leads to a happy ending. John Latuche (Cabin in the Sky, Candide) wrote the book and lyrics to the Ellington score, which features "Brown Penny," "Take Love Easy," "I Wanna Be Bad," "Tooth and Claw" and "I've Got Me." Dale Wassserman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), an original producer on the show, reworked the book for this reading.
Anderson also appeared as the Duke in Play On!, a musical rendering of Twelfth Night interpolated with Ellington tunes. Alainia Reed Hall, who plays Jenny, is best known as Olivia on "Sesame Street" and Rose on "227." Another Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway cast member, Paul Ainsley is Mr. Peachum. Sara Mann plays Polly with Cheryl Carter ("Boston Public," "Rugrats") as Lucy Lockit. The ensemble is Louis Tucker, Danny Bolero, Cindy Robinson, Jim Alexander, Maggie Collier, Raymond Patterson, Eddie Alonzo Russell, Pam Trotter and Lamont Van Hook.
Rubicon aristic director James O’Neil directs. Cast member Robinson is the choreographer. Kevin Toney is the musical director.
For tickets and information call (805) 667-2900. Rubicon Theatre Company is on the web at http://www.rubicontheatre.org. The Rubicon's final "Lost and Found" concert wil be Make Someone Happy, a revue of musical moments from Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Set for a Sept. 20-29 run, Make Someone Happy will feature numbers from Wonderful Town, Peter Pan, On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Bells are Ringing, Applause and On the Twentieth Century in an evening scripted by Wasserman. Bonnie Hellman will direct.
— By Christine Ehren