San Francisco, the city that figures so prominently in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, celebrates the composer's centennial April 16-Sept. 10 with a series of galas and talks, including a Wesla Whitfield concert and a chat with Rodgers' daughter Mary and Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization president Theodore S. Chapin. These events, held at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, highlight "With a Song in His Heart: A Celebration of Richard Rodgers," the library's special exhibit on Rodgers' work.
Cabaret's Whitfield sings her all-Rodgers program April 15 at the Herbst Theatre. The benefit evening will include a sneak peek at the exhibit and a party with Whitfield and husband Mike Greensill. The couple often perform in San Francisco, recently at American Conservatory Theatre's Geary Theatre in a cabaret evening entitled "Hooray For Hollywood."
Rodgers, also a musical theatre composer (Once Upon a Mattress), and Chapin will talk with Sheryl Flatow on May 4 at 1 PM. Along with their anecdotes and history from the composer's life, Brandon Adams and Jenny Lord will perform selections from the Rodgers canon. A reception follows.
Tickets to the Whitfield gala are $35-$50 with $150 party and concert ticket. The talk with Rodgers and Chapin is $25-$35. For reservations, call (415) 255-4800.
Also planned for the exhibits run are airings of various television specials, including the 1957 broadcast of "Cinderella" starring Julie Andrews (July 8-9), a Tonight Show salute featuring Rodgers, Diahann Carroll and Florence Henderson (July 15) and the General Foods 25th Anniversary Show, broadcast in 1954 on all four channels (July 22). There will also be a special Rodgers birthday sing-along June 28 featuring performers from 42nd Street Moon and, of course, the audience. The San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum is located in the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue. For further information, call (415) 255-4800. The San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum is on the web at http://www.sfpalm.org.
— By Christine Ehren