Elaine Stritch will again ask the question, "Why do the wrong people travel?," when she reprises her 1961 Broadway role as cruise director Mimi Paragon in a concert version of Noel Coward's musical, Sail Away, Nov. 3-13 at Weill Recital Hall in New York City.
The Carnegie Hall staging, directed by Gerald Gutierrez, reunites gravel- voiced Stritch (Goldilocks, Company, A Delicate Balance, Hal Prince's Show Boat) with the 1961 Coward score (which includes the song, "Sail Away," written for another show, 1950's Ace of Clubs). Sail Away, Coward's first original score for Broadway, played 167 performances and begat a cast album. The concert revival is in honor of the centenary of Coward's birth.
The staff and passengers on the S.S. Coronia, a Mediterranean bound British cruise ship, include Broadway vets Andrea Burns, Gordon Connell, Jane Connell, Alison Fraser, Jonathan Freeman, Jerry Lanning, James Patterson and Marian Seldes. The cast of 21 includes three children, including Paul Iacono of Paper Mill Playhouse's recent Mame.
Sail Away's book, music and lyrics are by Coward. Music director for the concert is Ben Whiteley.
Weill Recital Hall, attached to the 2,800-seat Carnegie Hall, seats 260. There were no sold out performances as of Nov. 2, but "we're pretty tight," said a spokesperson. Although the show opened to solid reviews in 1961, the public was indifferent, Coward observed in his diaries. He wrote: "Sail Away, owing to an almost sensational lack of enthusiasm from the New York public, is closing next Saturday, thereby putting an end to my optimistic dreams of a two-year run, a national company and a nice old-age pension."
Revival director Gutierrez (The Heiress) directed Stritch in the lauded revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance.
Weill Recital Hall is at 154 W. 57th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are $61. Call (212) 247-7800 for information.