After producing an entire season honoring the Richard Rodgers centennial, San Francisco's 42nd Street Moon will stage a more eclectic 11th season including the Tony-winning Finian's Rainbow and Cole Porter's Fifth Million Frenchmen, along with a rare revival of Jay Livingston and Ray Evan's Oh, Captain!, based on Alec Guinness' classic film "The Captain's Paradise."
The season kicks off with Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's Paint Your Wagon, playing March 26-April 13, 2003. A musical set in the Gold Rush Days of the Wild West, Paint Your Wagon takes place in Rumson Town, a town founded by miner and widower Ben Rumson. Ben's troubles begin with his daughter Jennifer, the only woman within miles, who has been unknowingly tempting the local men, and end with the gold, which begins to dry up, killing off his town. The score includes the well-known tune "They Call the Wind Maria," as well as "I Talk to the Trees," "I Still See Elisa," "In Between," "Cariño Mio," "Hand Me Down That Can O' Beans," "Another Autumn," "All for Him" and "Wand'rin Star."
Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach's Roberta follows, performing April 23-May 18. This musical, which starred Bob Hope in his Broadway debut and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers in its film bow, tells the story of an American football player who inherits a Parisian dress salon and falls in love with a Russian princess. The score features "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "Lovely to Look at."
Finian's Rainbow, which had a national tour in 1999, plays the Moon Sept. 24-28 as a full orchestra reading. Set in Kentucky, the Burton Lane-Yip Harburg comedy pits a Leprechaun against a group of Irish immigrants and a racist Southerner. "Old Devil Moon," "How Are Things in Glocca Mora?" and "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love" are among the well-known songs in the musical.
Oh, Captain! was nominated for six Tony Awards and starred Tony Randall in its original Broadway run in 1958. The story of a sea captain who lives two different lives in England and Paris was the first full Broadway score for future Academy Award winners Livingston and Evans ("Que Sera, Sera," "Mona Lisa"). The score includes "Life Does a Man a Favor," "Three Paradises," "Femininity," "Love Is Hell," "The Morning Music of Montmartre," "I've Been There and I'm Back" and "All the Time." Fifty Million Frenchmen completes the season, playing Nov. 26-Dec. 28. A mockery of Americans in Paris, Porter's 1929 comedy centers on a wealthy man who bets a friend that he will be engaged to a certain woman in the space of a month. Some classic Porter tunes are featured in the score, including "You Do Something to Me" and "You've Got That Thing."
A non-profit company devoted to the preservation and performance of American musical theatre, 42nd Street Moon derives its name from the early moniker for the bright lights of New York's 42nd Street. During its first 10 years the company has presented nearly 60 staged concerts of rarely performed musicals.
For tickets and subscription information, call (415) 255-8207. The Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue. 42nd Street Moon is on the web at http://www.42ndStMoon.org.
— By Christine Ehren