CHICAGO -- Stephen Sondheim fans can anticipate the first American production of his very first show -- in the Midwest.
Pegasus Players, which has a reputation for bringing new glory to lesser-known Sondheim shows (The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Merrily We Roll Along, Anyone Can Whistle, Assassins, and Passion), next spring will host the U.S. premiere of Saturday Night in spring 1999.
No casting for the Chicago production has been announced.
Written in 1954, Saturday Night saw Sondheim's first professional effort as a composer-lyricist for librettists Julius and Philip Epstein. Based on the novel "Front Porch in Flatbush," it depicts a bunch of irreverent Brooklyn kids who try to break into the stock market as well as crash debutante parties.
The show spawned such songs as the title number, "So Many People," and "What More Do I Need?" Unproduced for four decades, the musical was revived in a concert version at the Bridewell in September 1995 as part of a 'study day' held by the UK's The Stephen Sondheim Society, with Sondheim in attendance. Sondheim had been quoted previously saying he would not allow the show to be performed. But, according to Sean Patrick Flahaven, associate editor of The Sondheim Review magazine, Sondheim, apparently pleased with the study day concert version, announced his change of heart at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music tribute concerts in March 1997.
A surprising number of songs from Saturday Night have surfaced on Sondheim compilation recordings. Songs include "What More Do I Need," "Isn't It?" and the title song, all of which can be heard on the "A Stephen Sondheim Evening" recording. "Love's a Bond," "All for You," and "In the Movies" can be heard on the "Unsung Sondheim" CD. "So Many People" can be heard on the 1973 "Sondheim" compilation and in the cast album for the Off-Broadway show Marry Me a Little, which also includes "A Moment With You."
For information on the Chicago U.S. premiere, call (773) 878-9761.