Theatre publicist and impresario Judy Jacksina is directing a fast-paced, rock 'n' roll version of Shaw's Pygmalion at the Westbeth Theatre Center in New York City. Private readings are scheduled for Sept. 23 at 7 PM and again on Sept. 24 at noon. The show rolls over to workshop Nov. 29 at Westbeth.
Westbeth's Judy Taylor and Arnold Engelman are producing the show, with musical direction by Lon Hoyt, choreography by Linda Cholodenko and executive direction by Laura Williams.
The cast features Gordon Joseph Weiss, Stephen Byers, Jessica Merritt, Sarah K. Lippman, Terria Joseph, Christian Johnstone, Celia Montgomery, Paul Lee, Jake Myers, Rosie McGuire, Michael Worth and Ellen Barber. The choir comprises Albert Christmas, Enrique Cruz DeJesus, Kevin Michael Kennedy, Jackie Patterson, Miron Lockett, Maurice Wright and the four divas, Daria Hardeman, Adrienne Hurd, La Toya Brown and Alyson Williams as the archangel.
The musical will feature as many as 45 songs from the '60s as performed by the Heavenly Choir (all male) and the Devastating Divas (all female). Final music selections are pending negotiations with music publishers.
Jacksina told Playbill On-Line that she set Pygmalion on London's Carnaby Street, circa 1962, in part because it was "one of the last times you could tell what people were thinking from what they were wearing." "You had the Mods and the Rockers, as well as the upper, middle and lower society," Jacksina said. "The music of the day evened the social playing field and when the Beatles started making all that money, people took notice. I think a lot of that represents what's happening in Pygmalion, both socially and sexually, so I combined it. You know that feeling when a rock concert takes flight? Well, imagine that with Pygmalion and that's what we have." For information on Pygmalion, call (212) 221-8361. The Westbeth Theatre Center is at 151 Bank Street in Manhattan between West and Washington Streets.
-- By Murdoch McBride