Menken and Ashman's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Kicks Off "Musicals in Mufti" Season

News   Menken and Ashman's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Kicks Off "Musicals in Mufti" Season The first collaboration of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, begins the spring "Musicals in Mufti" season at the York Theatre Company April 1.
Alan Menken
Alan Menken

Based on the best-selling Kurt Vonnegut novel, Rosewater debuted at the WPA in 1978, later moving to the Entermedia Theatre for an extended run. The musical marks the 49th production in the "Mufti" series and features direction by Sheryl Kaller and musical direction by Fred Lassen.

The cast for God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater comprises Anastasia Barzee as Sylvia, John Ellison Conlee as Eliot, Wally Dunn as McAllister, Dann Fink as Jerome/Fireman/Sgt. Boyle, Howard Kaye as Delbert/Fireman, Beth Leavel as Mary/Blanche/Jane/Nun, Anthony Newfield as Senator Rosewater, Patti Perkins as Diana/Foundation Employee, David Pittu as Mushari, J. Robert Spencer as Charley/Arthur/Fireman, Jamison Stern as Noyes/Fireman/Fred, Amanda Watkins as Dawn/Hostess/Caroline and Lee Zarrett as Psychiatrist/Fireman/Writer/Alien.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, according to press notes, is the story of "Eliot Rosewater, World War II Veteran, eccentric, and president of a multi-national family foundation, who attempts a noble experiment with human nature resulting in an etched-in-acid portrayal of greed, hypocrisy and follies of the flesh." The musical will be presented April 1 at 8 PM, April 2 at 2:30 and 8 PM and April 3 at 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Writer Kurt Vonnegut and composer Alan Menken will participate in the post-performance discussions that follow the Saturday and Sunday matinee performances.

The "Mufti" series will continue with Jamaica, presented as part of the Harold Arlen Centennial Celebration. Jeff Hochhauser has adapted the book for the Mufti staging, based on the original book by E.Y. (Yip) Harburg. Jamaica, which boasts a score by Harold Arlen (music) and Harburg (lyrics), opened in 1957 at Broadway's Imperial Theatre. Lena Horne starred in the musical, which also featured Ossie Davis. Jamaica — starring Terri White — will be presented at the York April 8 at 8 PM, April 9 at 2:30 and 8 PM and April 10 at 2:30 and 7:30 PM.

The season will conclude with Jule Styne (music), E. Y. Harburg (lyrics) and Nunnally Johnson's (book) Darling of the Day. The musical is based on the Arnold Bennett novel "Buried Alive" and concerns the story of Priam Farll, "a painter who sees an opportunity to duck out of London's stifling high society by assuming the identity of his recently deceased valet." Patricia Routledge won a Tony Award for her performance in the original 1968 Broadway production. The Mufti staging will feature an adaptation by Erik Haagensen. Darling of the Day was first presented by the "Mufti" series in 1998; it is being repeated this season in honor of the Jule Styne Centennial. Performance dates are April 15 at 8 PM, April 16 at 2:30 and 8 PM and April 17 at 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Tickets for all shows are priced at $35 and are available by calling (212) 868-4444 or by visiting www.smarttix.com. For more information go to www.yorktheatre.org.

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The "Musicals in Mufti" series presents musicals in staged concert settings. "Mufti" means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings." Audience discussions follow the matinee performances.