The property found its way to Broadway in 1989 (the libretto was by Hugh Wheeler) and also toured. It's now a stock and amateur favorite, boasting the Hugh Martin-Ralph Blane movie-musical tunes "The Boy Next Door," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song," plus Martin-Blane interpolations and (as in the film) the public domain songs "Under the Bamboo Tree" and "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis."
Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore directs the intimate new production at Irish Rep's 137-seat home at 132 W. 22nd Street in Manhattan. Music direction is by John Bell and choreography by Barry McNabb.
Opening is Dec. 14, for a run to Jan. 28, 2007.
Adapted from Benson's "The Kensington Stories," a.k.a. "5135 Kensington," Meet Me in St. Louis is the story of the Smith family as they eagerly anticipate the World's Fair in St. Louis just after the turn of the century. Will the father's transfer to New York City spoil the family's sense of stability? The 1944 film starred Judy Garland, and was hugely popular during wartime — its theme of home and family unity playing well in a time of global crisis. The 1989 stage version was nominated for a Best Musical Tony Award in 1990.
The Irish Rep cast will include veteran Broadway star George S. Irving (Oklahoma!, So Long, 174th Street) as Grandpa Prophater, John Hickok (Little Women) as Mr. Smith, Sarah Pfisterer as Mrs. Smith, Becky Barta as Katie (the dancing Irish maid) and real sisters Danielle and Gabrielle Piacentile, age eleven and seven, as the two younger Smith sisters.
Newcomer Bonnie Fraser will play Esther (the Garland role) and Colin Donnell is "the boy next door."
The cast will also include Doug Boes, Merideth Kaye Clark, Kerry Conte and Ashley Robinson.
Set design is by Tony Straiges, costume design is by Tracy Christensen, lighting design is by Brian Nason, wig and hair design by Robert-Charles Vallance, casting by Deborah Brown, Elis C. Arroyo is the production stage manager, Janice M. Brandine is the stage manager.
Performances of Meet Me in St. Louis play be Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM.
Tickets are $60 and $55 and can be purchased by calling The Irish Repertory Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737.