Manhattan Theatre Club is exploring John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical, Over & Over, inspired by Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, in a 20-hour rehearsed reading in April, according to industry casting information.
Gabriel Barre will direct the private reading of the revised version of the musical, which was first seen at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, in early 1999. In the initial casting announcement, Christopher Ashley was incorrectly identified as director of the reading.
Joseph Stein (Rags, Fiddler on the Roof, Zorba) penned the libretto of the musical, drawing on the 1942 Pulitzer Prize-winning Wilder play, about a typical American family, the Antrobuses, as it faces the cataclysms of world history.
Rehearsals begin April 1, according to casting breakdowns, with a reading to follow.
* Over & Over had its world premiere Jan. 6, 1999, under the direction of Eric Schaeffer at the 136-seat Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. In fall 2001, composer Kander told Playbill On-Line he and his collaborators were still refining the project.
The premiere had some big names attached to it: Dorothy Loudon as Lulu Shriner (and others) and choreographer Bob Avian (A Chorus Line) among them. Songwriters Kander and Ebb scored Cabaret, Chicago, Zorba, Kiss of the Spider Woman and more. Their latest effort was a musical version of The Visit, which premiered in fall 2001 at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
In Over & Over, Sherie Scott, a rising actress who had played Amneris in Disney's tryout of Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida and later starred in the revision, Aida, had the plum role of Sabina, maid to the Antrobus household in the absurdism-flecked story. Scott (who is now known as Sherie Rene Scott and stars in Off-Broadway's The Last Five Years) replaced Bebe Neuwirth in rehearsals Dec. 21, 1998, just two weeks before the Jan. 6 first show of the sold-out premiere run.
Sabina is the maid and narrator in the 1942 play. In Wilder's allegory for human resilience, the Antrobus family survives disasters and dramatic changes of Biblical proportions.
Also in the 1999 company were Linda Emond (Mrs. Antrobus), David Garrison (Mr. Antrobus), Megan Lawrence (Gladys), Jim Newman (Henry), Mario Cantone (Bob), Sharon Wilkins (Fortune Teller), Lawrence Redmond (Socrates), Hugh Nees (Homer), Thomas Adrian Simpson (Moses), Bruce Nelson (Jesus), Richard Pelzman (Mammoth), Karl Christian, Kenneth J. Ewing Jr., Daniel Felton, Jason Gilbert, Marc Oka, R. Scott Thompson, Johanna Gerry, Erika Lynn Rupli, Jennifer Swiderski.
Over & Over had a reading in spring 1998 in New York City under Schaeffer's direction, with Michele Pawk as Sabina. Bernadette Peters played Sabina in an earlier reading, not associated with Signature.
A cast album of the Virginia staging does not exist. The show was another chance for producers and artists to present a new work "under the radar" at a small venue off the beaten path.
The songlist of Over & Over as of the Feb. 3, 1999, press performance included the following numbers. Some changes are naturally expected.
"Eat the Ice Cream" Sabina
"Sabina!" Mrs. Antrobus
"He Always Comes Home to Me" Mrs. Antrobus
"Telegram No. 1" Telegram Boy
"We're Home" Gladys & Henry
"The Wheel" Mr. Antrobus
"Someday, Pasadena" Sabina & Men
"A Whole Lotta Lovin' " Wisemen
"Abou Ben Adhem" Gladys
"The Library" Mrs. Antrobus
"Rain" Fortune Teller
"As You Are" Mrs. Antrobus, Mrs. Antrobus
"Beauty Contest" Bathing Beauties
"This Life" Elsa Fitt & The Bathing Beauties
"You Owe It to Yourself" Sabina
"Nice People" Henry
"The Promise" Mrs. Antrobus
"The Promise (Reprise)" Mr.Antrobus
"Rain (Reprise)" Fortune Teller
"Military Man" Lulu Shriner, Bob Corleone & Soldiers
"Lullaby" Gladys & Mrs. Antrobus
"Telegram No. 2" Telegram Boy
"Home" Mrs. Antrobus & Sabina
"Nice People (Reprise)" Henry
"The Skin of Our Teeth" Mr. Antrobus
"Antrobus Waltz" Mr. Antrobus & Mrs. Antrobus
"At the Rialto" Sabina
— By Kenneth Jones