Rodgers & Hart's Spring Is Here Blossoms in Concert May 4 with Errico, Fellner

News   Rodgers & Hart's Spring Is Here Blossoms in Concert May 4 with Errico, Fellner Spring Is Here, the virtually forgotten 1929 Rodgers & Hart musical, gets a May 4 concert revival on Long Island that features Broadway's Melissa Errico, Daniel Gerroll, Jenny Fellner, Greg Mills and more.

The hybrid cast also includes student actors from the theatre department of Long Island's Five Towns College. Broadway designer Tony Walton, who is also a respected director, designed the concert and adapted the script for this new presentation. The musical director and restorer is Aaron Gandy. Twin pianos are used.

The 7:30 PM performance at Dix Hills Performing Arts Center in Dix Hills, NY, is a fundraiser for New York's The Theatre Museum.

Spring Is Here has not been staged in more than 75 years, according to organizers.

The seeds of the project began when music director Gandy (The Lion King & Urinetown on Broadway) and Tommy Krasker (co-founder of PS Classics) became interested in recording old Broadway shows that had yet to be preserved. Spring Is Here was on their wish list, but the original Broadway script and orchestration had been lost. Gandy went to the Warner Bros. Archive vault (WB had produced the 1930 film "Spring Is Here"). His plan was to use the movie score and script to rebuild the Broadway show. While searching through "the cob-web and dust-covered box of original film scripts and direction materials," he found the long-lost original script and score of the Broadway show.

Gandy had the fragile paperwork copied and spoke to Tony, Oscar and Emmy Award winner Tony Walton about modernizing the script and directing the new workshop version. Five Towns College theatre department director Jared Herskowitz met with Walton and Gandy at the American Theatre Museum Awards Ceremony, where Five Towns won the award for Excellence in Theatre Education. A plan was hatched to mix Broadway actors with Five Towns students to bring the show to life.

"This performance will use twin pianos, which were an important part of the original 1929 production," Gandy said. "They were originally played by Arden and Ohman, who were often featured in Gershwin shows. Once the twin piano features are restored, we'll restore the full orchestrations, and then hopefully record the full show."

Here's the daffy plot in a nutshell: Two daughters drive their father crazy by sneaking out and hooking up with neighborhood boys. Owen Davis was the original librettist. He adapted the musical from his play, Shotgun Wedding.

The score includes "Yours Sincerely," "Spring Is Here in Person," "With a Song in My Heart," "Why Can't I?" and more. The show did not introduce the standard, "Spring Is Here," but the concert creators have chosen to interpolate it. The score did include a song called "Spring Is Here in Person," which is not related to the later "Spring Is Here" (from 1938's I Married an Angel).

Gandy stressed that this is an adaptation by Tony Walton. He explained, "The original script was charming, but difficult to produce due to a whole lot of physical business (falling apples, pratfalls, tree and wall climbing, etc.) that were impractical for a concert setting. Removing those elements and streamlining the show has meant changing some things, large and small."

One of the bonuses, Gandy said, "is that we've reinstated two cut songs — 'A Word in Edgeways' and 'The Color of Her Eyes.'"

The concert cast includes Adam Armstrong, Elizabeth Ingraham, Maxime De Toledo and more.

For more information visit DHPAC.org or call the Center's box office at (631) 656-2148.

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