BJ Jones, artistic director of Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL, was recently able to negotiate what will be a world premiere Noel Coward revue, co-produced with Geva Theatre in Rochester. Both are respected resident Equity theatres.
Jones was interested in producing a new Coward revue to showcase the piano playing and dancing skills of a particular group of performers. New Coward shows are not granted easily or often, but Jones talked to Coward's partner, Graham Payn, in Switzerland.
Payn, on Northlight's behalf, spoke to the executive director of the estate, who granted the rights, a spokesperson for Northlight told Playbill.com.
These new rights will enable director David Ira Goldstein and performers Mark Anders and Carl Danielson to craft a new production composed of rarely-seen archival material along with Coward favorites. Patricia Wilcox will choreograph, according to Geva.
Anders and Danielson previously teamed up on the specialty show, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, one of Northlight's greatest hits. Anders and Danielson will be joined by Anna Lauris to perform the new revue, opening at Northlight on Dec. 10, following an Oct. 11-Nov. 6 run at Geva. Coward (1899-1973), of course, was the British renaissance man who was a playwright, composer, lyricist, director and actor noted for writing the plays Private Lives, Design for Living, Hay Fever, Blithe Spirit (and many more) and a slew of cabaret, theatre and patriotic songs between the 1920s and 1960s.
His extensive songbook includes "If Love Were All," "20th Century Blues," "A Room With a View," "Dance, Little Lady," "Poor Little Rich Girl," "Why Must the Show Go On?," "Sail Away," "I Went to a Marvellous Party," "(Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage,) Mrs. Worthington," "The Party's Over Now," "Mad About the Boy," "Someday I'll Find You," "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "I'll See You Again" and more.
For more information, visit www.northlightheatre.org or www.gevatheatre.org.