The Williamstown Theatre Festival 2001 Main Stage season opener, One Mo' Time, may soon strut its stuff on Broadway. The Vernel Bagneris musical, a big hit Off-Broadway in 1979, ran in Williamstown June 20-July 1. Bagneris starred and directed. The New York Times reported Nov. 16 that the show would open at the Longacre Theatre on March 6.
One Mo' Time takes the audience back to New Orleans' Lyric Theatre on a steamy night in 1926, where Big Bertha's touring vaudeville song-and-dance act primps and bickers between numbers on stage. A cast of five — which also included Rosalind Brown, B.J. Crosby, Wally Dunn and Roz Ryan — sing Charlestons, rags, cakewalks and other characteristic numbers of the time. Theatregoers were also treated to a sampling of Bagneris' signature limber-limbed dancing.
The Williamstown engagement had its audiences clapping and yelling for more each night as the cast sang "There will be a hot time in the old town tonight"--an unusual reaction for a subscription base more used to the likes of Hedda Gabler and The Price.
One Mo' Time opened Off-Broadway at the Village Gate in 1979 and ran for three and a half years. The show eventually had runs in London, Australia and across the U.S. It also inspired a sequel, titled Further Mo'. Bagneris' other credits include Jelly Roll, The Life, Staggerlee and the film "Pennies from Heaven."
Williamstown habitually sees its offerings journey south to New York City. Past transfer successes include Arthur Miller's The Price and All My Sons and N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker. This fall, the festival's production of Hedda Gabler, starring Kate Burton, opened on Broadway.