Tracey Moore gets the plum title role in the York Theatre Company's concert revival of Regina, the operatic Marc Blitzstein version of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, Oct. 19-21.
Part of the York's popular Musicals in Mufti series, in which actors have scripts in hand and perform without the usual costumes and trappings, Regina also features Steve Bedila as Horace Giddens, Connie Coit as Birdie, Keith Crowninshield as Leo Hubbard, Harry Danner as Oscar Hubbard, Susan Derry as Alexandra Giddens, J. Mark McVey as William Marshall, Brenda Pressley as Addie and Guy Stroman as Benjamin Hubbard and Glenn Turner as Jabez (Jazz). Anne Bobby plays Regina at matinees.
The 1949 musical drama played 56 performances at the 46th Street Theatre. The libretto and score were penned by Blitzstein, drawing on Hellman's 1939 play about a greedy Southern family and the married sister, Regina, who wants to chuck her life and move to the brighter, more expansive Chicago.
Punctuated with songs and extended musical scenes, the not widely-known Regina has found a home with opera companies.
At the time of its premiere, The World Telegram observed, "This new lyric drama headily defies classification. It is a tense, taut story, released into musical terms in a splendidly rich fabric of sound. Infallibly realized, it is as if Blitzstein had never heard of a formula." For the York, Harold Scott directs and Jack Lee musical directs.
All Mufti shows run five performances: 8 PM Friday, 2:30 PM and 8 PM Saturday, 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM at the York Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citigroup Center, 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th Street in Manhattan. Audience discussions follow all matinee performances. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or York's box office at (212) 935-5820.
The intimate, dressed-down readings have become a signature of the York, which is devoted to producing new musicals and reviving old ones at its Manhattan digs in The Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citigroup building at Lexington and 54th.
The fall 2001 Mufti series began with the New York premiere of composer Andre Previn, librettist Ronald Harwood and lyricist Johnny Mercer's The Good Companions, the 1968 West End tuner based on a novel by J.B. Priestley, Oct. 5-7 (under the direction of Susan H. Schulman). It continued Oct. 12-14 with the a concert revival of Cyrano, librettist Anthony Burgess and composer Michael J. Lewis' musical retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac.
The York Theatre Company's January 2002 "Musicals in Mufti" musicals-in concert series will focus on the late composer Richard Rodgers, including a rare revival of his 1967 TV musical, "Androcles and the Lion," in his centennial year.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's backstage musical comedy, Me and Juliet, a flop in 1953, gets a concert reading Jan. 11 13. The show gave birth to one hit, "No Other Love," the theme of which is heard in Rodgers' "Victory at Sea" TV documentary score.
The stage premiere of the onetime 1967 NBC special, "Androcles and the Lion," plays Jan. 18-20. George Bernard Shaw's play is the inspiration for Peter Stone's book and Rodgers' music and lyrics. As a lyricist writing to his own music, Rodgers also penned new songs for the film, "The Sound of Music," and the songs for Broadway's No Strings. Joe Layton staged the TV version of "Androcles and the Lion." Rodgers devotes exactly three sentences to the project in his autobiography, "Musical Stages." The show "didn't come off well," he wrote.
The 1942 Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical comedy, By Jupiter, with a score that includes "Nobody's Heart," "Ev'rything I've Got" and "Wait Till You See Her," is the third Rodgers event, Jan. 25-27. It was the last show Rodgers and Hart wrote together (although they collaborated on a revival of A Connecticut Yankee).
— By Kenneth Jones