Something Funny: Ahrens and Flaherty's Lucky Stiff Has Starry Concert at York, Oct. 24-26

News   Something Funny: Ahrens and Flaherty's Lucky Stiff Has Starry Concert at York, Oct. 24-26
 
Mary Testa and Paul Kandel, veterans of the original Playwrights Horizons run of Lucky Stiff, the musical comedy by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, will appear in the Oct. 24-26 concert version by The York Theatre Company.
Mary Testa and Paul Kandel
Mary Testa and Paul Kandel

The Stiff cast for the Musicals in Mufti series at the York includes Malcolm Gets, Janet Metz, Erick Devine, Stuart Zagnit and Emily Skinner, under the direction of Graciela Daniele (Once on This Island, Ragtime). David Loud musical directs.

York presents five performances at The Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citigroup Center, 619 Lexington at 54th Street.

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Lucky Stiff premiered at Playwrights Horizons in April 1988 and was the first show of future Tony Award winners Ahrens and Flaherty to be produced outside a family-theatre arena (they had collaborated on a Theatreworks USA musical for kids).

Ahrens penned book and lyrics, Flaherty the music, drawing on the Michael Butterworth novel, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo." Lucky Stiff was the recipient of a 1988 Richard Rodgers Production Award and 1990 Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning Ragtime, and Once on This Island and Seussical, plus Off-Broadway's A Man of No Importance.

Lucky Stiff plays 8 PM Oct. 24. 2:30 and 8 PM Oct. 25 and 2:30 and 7:30 PM Oct. 26. For ticket information, call (212) 868-4444.

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A studio cast album preserves the score of the comic musical, Lucky Stiff. "Times Like This" is a wistful, comic cabaret standard from the show. Thommie Walsh directed the original staging.

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"Mufti" means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings"; the shows are done without costumes and with script in hand.

The fall Mufti season (three of six concert shows planned for 2003-04) includes Jerome Kern's Oh, Boy! (which played Oct. 17-19), directed by Simon Jones; and an obscure show called Man With a Load of Mischief Oct. 31-Nov. 2, directed by Michael Montel.

Man With a Load of Mischief is a rare York exploration of an Off-Broadway show — this one from 1966 — about the romantic and comic goings-on at a wayside inn in 18th century England. York artistic director James Morgan told Playbill On-Line he's wanted to do an Off Broadway show in his series for a long time. He knew Man from an old cast album.

Oh, Boy! is Kern's 1917 collaboration with librettist-lyricists P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. It was one of their intimate Princess Theatre shows that attempted to wed story and song more intricately than was the habit of the day. "Till the Clouds Roll By" (with lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse) was heard in the show.

Man With a Load of Mischief (based on a play called The Man With a Load of Mischief) has a libretto by Ben Tarver, lyrics by John Clifton and Ben Tarver and music by John Clifton. Morgan said the characters include an innkeeper and his wife, and a lord and lady (and servant and maid) who stop by a country inn for the night.

"It's romantic and touching," Morgan said.

Morgan said that following an abbreviated mainstage season last year (Porterphiles was the sole York mainstage show beyond Mufti; the venue was rented to other producers), his upcoming 2003-04 season (the troupe's 35th) will include three mainstage shows and six Mufti shows. The next round of Muftis play early 2004.

For more information, visit www.yorktheatre.org.

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