Rachel York Will Sing Summer of '42 for York Theatre Benefit and World Premiere Recording

News   Rachel York Will Sing Summer of '42 for York Theatre Benefit and World Premiere Recording Summer of '42, the coming-of-age musical based on the book and film of the same name, will finally get a recording following Off-Broadway and regional productions, composer-lyricist David Kirshenbaum told Playbill.com.
Rachel York
Rachel York Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The show will be heard in a May 23 benefit concert for The York Theatre Company and be recorded the next day for JAY Records, with John Yap producing a two-disc full version of the show's score and libretto.

Given that the show is licensed and performed around the country, the disc will likely appear sooner rather than later. No release date has been announced. Rachel York will also be heard on JAY's forthcoming cast album of Dessa Rose.

The one-night-only Summer of '42 concert performance of the entire show will be directed by Gabriel Barre, who directed the developmental staging for Goodspeed Musicals and the subsequent Off-Broadway production. Original musical director and orchestrator Lynne Shankel (Altar Boyz, Princesses) will be on hand, leading the six-piece band that played the show's off-Broadway run.

The cast for the concert and recording will be led by Rachel York (Dessa Rose, City of Angels, Victor/Victoria) in the role of Dorothy, which she played in 2004 in a production of the show at Casa Manana in Texas; and young Ryan Driscoll in the role of Hermie, which he originated at Goodspeed and at the Variety Arts Off-Broadway.

The story is set on the East Coast during wartime, when, during his summer break from high school, Hermie is drawn to a young wife whose husband has shipped out overseas. Herman Raucher penned the novel and screenplay; Hunter Foster wrote the musical's libretto. "In a perfect world, every show done would get recorded, and I wish we had been able to do it with the original cast while the show was still running Off-Broadway in 2001," Kirshenbaum told Playbill.com. "That didn't happen for a variety of reasons. In spite of that disappointment, Hunter and I couldn't be more thrilled with the amazing, generous and incredibly talented company we've assembled to record the score."

The concert and recording will include performers who have been associated with productions or readings of the show in one way or the other, the composer said.

Kirshenbaum said he's particularly pleased that the concert will benefit the York, the Off-Broadway troupe exclusively devoted to musicals, because his first job in the city after college was musical-directing A Doll's Life for York's Musicals in Mufti series. The York Theatre also hosted the first public presentation of Summer of '42 in its Developmental Reading Series.

The rest of the company for the 8 PM May 23 concert is comprised of Celia Keenan-Bolger, Megan Valerie Walker, Danielle Ferland, Brett Tabisel, Joe Gallagher, Ayal Miodovnik and Bill Buell. The stage manager will be Gail Eve Malatesta (who did the job Off-Broadway).

Tickets for the benefit are priced at $50 and $80, with the higher-priced tickets offering customers the benefits of priority seating, a reception afterward with the cast and creative team, and a choice of York cast albums issued by the JAY Records label (including the option of waiting for the release of the Summer of '42 album).

The York Theatre Company album of Summer of '42 will be produced for JAY Records by John Yap and will be recorded May 24 complete on two CDs, including all underscoring and dialogue, as well as some material cut from the show.

Summer of '42 is licensed by Dramatists Play Service, and has been performed in stock, amateur and resident Equity theatres around the country. More than a dozen theatres have produced the show so far, Kirshenbaum said.

York benefit concert tickets will be available at Smarttix at (212) 868-4444. Visit www.yorktheatre.org.

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