This is the premiere of a new version of a more expansive script that was produced with a cast of 25 — including Gavin MacLeod — at Casa Manana in Ft. Worth, TX, in 1997. Now, the script is designed for a cast of six but the score (with music by the late Claibe Richardson) is just as ambitious as before, according to librettist and co-lyricist Stephen Cole.
The BroadHollow staging is viewed by Cole as a kind of workshop for this script. Richardson, who died in early January, wrote his last song for Saturday Night at Grossinger's in 2002, Cole said, adding, "it's Claibe writing in the style of Jule Styne, his mentor, and it's pure musical comedy."
The collaborators worked on this rewrite in 2002. Co-lyricist Ronny Graham, a collaborator with Mel Brooks, died several years ago.
The show is set on a weekend night when the main act at Grossinger's is stranded on the road in a blizzard. To vamp, Jennie Grossinger and family leap onto the stage to tell the story of how she built the most famous resort in upstate New York.
"Our goal is to take this show to Florida where we know people are waiting for this," Cole told Playbill On-Line. "It promises a fun evening about Jennie and the Catskills." Composer Richardson may be best known for the musical, The Grass Harp, and (with Cole) also wrote The Night of the Hunter (now under the wing of producer-director John Bowab). Cole saw his musical, After the Fair, staged Off-Broadway by York Theatre Company.
Richard T. Dolce, BroadHollow's artistic director, directs the staging. Vic DiMonda choreographs. The musical director is Eric Baum.
BroadHollow's Centre Stage is located at Molloy College, 1000 Hempstead Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY. For ticket information and reservations call (631) 581-2700.