From This Day Forward, the new plot-driven revue using more than 60 songs by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, resurfaces twice weekly in Manhattan Sept. 20-Oct. 13 as part of the Chip Deffaa Invitational, a new performing arts festival.
The four-actor show previously played a total of 10 weeks in March and July 2002, at Don't Tell Mama. Ergo Theatre Company artistic director Robert Jay Cronin created the production with the permission and supervision of Schwartz, the songwriter known for Pippin, Rags, The Baker's Wife and the upcoming Wicked.
Director-conceiver Cronin eschews the traditional cruise ship approach to the musical revue to create "a patchwork of melodies and lyrics" culled from Schwartz's 30-year career. The score will include some songs with lyrics by Schwartz and music by Charles Strouse and others. The fall run is part of he show's ongoing development.
Cronin told Playbill On-Line there has been a lot of interest from regional theatres and that he hopes to get a New York City producer involved with the show for an Off-Broadway run.
Cast member Jedidiah Cohen and musical director Mark Hartman will head off to Connecticut soon to appear to work on Goodspeed Musicals' revival of Schwartz's The Baker's Wife. *
Schwartz opened his entire catalog of songs to Ergo, a small Manhattan not-for-profit group founded in 1997 to bring light to the work of new, unexposed writers. Many of Schwartz's cut or unreleased songs appear in the show, which chronicles the lives of four people — two men and two women — who "know there's something more than this." At the start, one couple is breaking up and another is getting together. Relationships shift over the evening.
The ultimate goal would be an Off-Broadway production, said Johanna Pinzler, one of the founders of Ergo, said there has also been regional interest in the show. The hope is to make the show a "theatre piece" — a musical — rather than a cabaret show.
The onetime cabaret piece has been expanded to 75 minutes since its March version at the venerable Don't Tell Mama. The cast included — and will include — Jedidiah Cohen, Colin Hanlon, Robyn Lee and Johanna Pinzler. Mark Hartman (a vet of Musicals Tonight!) is musical director and arranger.
Songs in From This Day Forward include "Corner of the Sky," "Meadowlark," "All For the Best," "Just No Time at All" and the lesser-known "Prestidigitation," "Written in Stone," "Crowded Island" and more.
Performances are 9 PM Fridays and 2 PM Sundays Sept. 20-Oct. 13 at 111 W. 42nd Street. There is a $15 cover charge. For information, call (212) 206-1515.
— By Kenneth Jones