As previously reported by PBOL, Off-Broadway's York Theatre Company will present the New York premiere of Exactly Like You, the musical by composer Cy Coleman and A.E. Hotchner that recently completed a workshop production at Goodspeed Opera House's Norma Terris Theatre. Like You will play in the York's schedule right after Little by Little. However, since Little's engagement is open-ended, specific dates and cast have yet to been announced.
Like You is a reworking of some material from Coleman's 1988 flop, Welcome to the Club. The York mounting would mark the first-ever Off-Broadway premiere of a new musical from Coleman, whose catalog includes Sweet Charity, Barnum, The Will Rogers Follies and The Life.
The Goodspeed workshop production took place May '98 and was directed and choreographed by Patricia Birch, who choreographed the original Grease, A Little Night Music and Pacific Overtures. Featured in the cast were Barbara Walsh ( Big and Falsettos) and Michael McGrath (Forbidden Broadway, Swinging on a Star and The Coconuts).
Exactly Like You, which Coleman described as "a courtroom drama, but very funny," has lyrics by Coleman and A.E. Hotchner, his collaborator on the short-run 1988 musical Welcome to the Club, which dealt with another part of the legal system, an alimony jail. Coleman told PBOL that the two musicals are closely related, dealing with many of the same issues, having some of the same characters (including country singer Winona Shook) and rescuing some of the earlier show's songs, including the ballad "At My Side."
Here's how Goodspeed described the plot:
On trial for locking his mother-in-law in the bathroom, Kevin Bursteter (Edward Staudenmayer) realizes the honeymoon is over when his wife, Eve (Katharine Leonard), testifies against him. Meanwhile Kevin's lawyer, Martin Murphy (Michael McGrath), tries to reconcile with his wife, Arlene (Barbara Walsh), who's prosecuting the case. And in the jury box, Aaron Bates (Robert Bartley) finds opposites attract after fellow juror Winona Shook, a bawdy country singer (Blair Ross), knocks him unconscious on the courthouse steps. Also in the Goodspeed cast: Frank Gravis, Tony Hastings, Doug Katsaros, Donna Kelly, Donya Lan, Susan Mansur (Ruthless).
Hotchner, who has written books about Ernest Hemingway, Doris Day and Sophia Loren, is partners with Paul Newman in the "Newman's Own" line of food products whose proceeds go to charity. Hotchner and Newman launched a line of ice cream April 14, 1998.
Here is a list of the musical numbers, which appeared in the Goodspeed production:
"A Man of the People" - All
"The Trouble with You" - Arlene & Martin Murphy
"Southern Comfort" - Winona, Bates, Ensemble
"Thanks to Mum" - Eve, Ensemble
"Why Did You Have to Be a Lawyer" - Arlene & Martin Murphy
"I Get Tired" - Lamarr, Winona
"That's a Woman" - Bates
"Cottage by the Sea" - Kevin
"In the Name of Love" - Arlene & Martin Murphy
"I Forgive Him" - Priscilla
"Mother-in-law" - Ensemble
"Good Day, Good Day" - TV Commentator
"She Makes Me Laugh" - Bates
"Rio" - Kevin, Martin, Ensemble
"At My Side" - Kevin, Eve
"No Further Questions, Please" - Arlene
"You're Good for Me" - Judge, Priscilla
"Guilty" - Winona
"Ain't He Cute" - Arlene & Martin Murphy
"It Wouldn't Be You" - All
In other York Theatre news, the season will begin Jan. 13, 1999 with Liz Larsen (The Most Happy Fella) and Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde) in Little by Little , a new musical by Brad Ross-Ellen Greenfield-Hal Hackady.
Little by Little , a sung-through piece, follows a man and two women from childhood friendship to the love triangle which evolves as they grow into adults. Brad Ross wrote the music, while Ellen Greenfield and Hal Hackady penned the lyrics. Hackady, known for his playful wordplay, wrote Goodtime Charlie , among other works. Greenfield and Annette Jolles -- who also directs -- authored the original story.
-- By Sean McGrath and Robert Viagas