Orfeh, Gettelfinger, Brier, Givens and More Set for Lovely War Readings

News   Orfeh, Gettelfinger, Brier, Givens and More Set for Lovely War Readings More readings of the Broadway-bound revival of Oh What a Lovely War will be presented May 22 and 23 at The Roundabout Studios.
Orfeh
Orfeh Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The industry-only readings will be directed by Sharon Rosen and will feature the talents of Jennifer Barnhart, Beth Beyer, Kathy Brier, Sara Gettelfinger, Robin Givens, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Orfeh and Sara Schmidt. Previous readings were held in September 2005 at the York Theatre. Oh What a Lovely War features a book by Joan Littlewood, Charles Chilton and Theatre Workshop, Inc. Popular music from that era — including "Pack Up Your Troubles," "Goodbye-ee" and "Keep The Home Fires Burning" — comprise the score. The upcoming Broadway production — no dates have been announced — will feature scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Therese Bruck and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald.

The show was first performed by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal in 1963 and was her greatest success. A satirical chronicle of World War I, it tells the story of the conflict through parody songs and burlesque scenes, with the actors jumping from part to part. In the original production, the ensemble work Pierrot costumes while message periodically flashed the number of casualties.

After productions in London and Paris, Oh What a Lovely War opened in New York at the Broadhurst Theatre on Sept. 30, 1964. The musical received four Tony nominations, including those for Best Musical, Best Director (Joan Littlewood), Best Featured Actress (Barbara Windsor) and Best Featured Actor (Victor Spinetti).

Broadway hasn't seen a production of the satirical show since David Merrick produced the British work at the Broadhurst, where it played 125 performances.

The subsequent film, directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, featured Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm and Susannah York.

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