Summer Stock, a Stage Musical Expansion of the M-G-M Film, Is Harvested for NJ Benefit

News   Summer Stock, a Stage Musical Expansion of the M-G-M Film, Is Harvested for NJ Benefit
 
Skyline Theatre Company in New Jersey's Bergen County presents a concert of the new stage musical Summer Stock, inspired by the M-G-M movie musical, Oct. 2-3 as a benefit for Skyline.

Kristin Maloney
Kristin Maloney

The show features Kristin Maloney (Irish Rep's Streets of New York, City Opera's The Glass Blowers) as Jane Falbury, the role created by Judy Garland in the 1950 film, with Charlie Haggerty (Wicked in Chicago, Les Miz on tour) as Joe Ross, the Gene Kelly role.

The musical — widely known for featuring the famous "Get Happy" musical number with a leggy Garland surrounded by her "boys" — has been in development as a stage property (with new songs mixed into the film score) in the past year, under the direction of Sam Scalamoni, Skyline's managing artistic director. He co-wrote the new libretto and continues to shepherd the project as director. It was previously heard in a Manhattan industry reading in August 2009.

The concert performances (7:30 PM Oct. 2 and 2 PM Oct. 3) play the Fair Lawn Community Center at 10-10 20th Street in Fair Lawn, NJ. This gala fundraiser for the company's programs and productions launches Skyline's tenth anniversary season.

The concert cast also includes J.B. Adams (Beauty and the Beast, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Jasper Wingait, Scott Cote (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tour) as Orville, Alicia Reynolds as Abigail, Bob Barth as Herb Blake, Sue Boland as Esme, Ryan Vallo as Harrison Keith/ensemble, Eric William Whitehead as Artie/ensemble, plus Alan Van Antwerp, Stacie Gogo, Sarah Gafgan, Danielle Christine Pennisi, Duane McDevitt, Jackie Klein and Megan MacPhee.

Summer Stock includes a new score from composer and co-lyricist Thomas Tierney (Eleanor – An American Love Story) and co-lyricist Jeffrey Haddow (Scrambled Feet, Chekhov in Yalta). The book is by Haddow and Scalamoni. "This will be a unique chance to see a musical in development and meet and discuss it with its creators following both performances," according to Skyline notes. "This stage version of the film follows Jane Falbury the owner of a struggling New England farm that is suddenly besieged by a troupe of actors invited by Jane's star-struck kid sister Abigail to use the family barn for an out-of-town tryout of a new musical. Summer Stock is chock full of dancing, laughter, and romance. The score is a seamless mix of new songs written for this adaptation and timeless classics from the original film, including the Harold Arlen blockbuster finale, 'Get Happy.'"

Gary Adler is music supervisor; Kristin D'Bagian is music director and accompianist.

Scalamoni told Playbill.com on Sept. 16, "The response to the material has all been very positive from both commercial producers and regional theatres. We feel we are at the peak of our development process and are ready for a full stage production."

In the film, Garland was a frumpy Connecticut farmer who reluctantly let her sister (Gloria De Haven) and her summer-stock actor pals (including Kelly and Phil Silvers) put on a show in their barn. Garland inevitably became the star of the revue-style extravaganza, singing one of her signature movie-musical hits, "Get Happy," by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. The movie score featured songs by a handful of writers including Mack Gordon and Harry Warren and composer-lyricist Saul Chaplin. "Get Happy" was an added specialty, filmed weeks after principal photography had ended; Garland appears to be noticeably leaner.

Four songs from the film remain in this stage adaptation: "If You Feel Like Singing, Sing," "Get Happy," "You Wonderful You" and "Dig-Dig-Dig for Your Dinner."

"Summer Stock" the film also includes the songs "(Howdy, Neighbor) Happy Harvest," "Friendly Star," "Mem'ry Island," "All for You" and "Heavenly Music."

The soundtrack was recently reissued on the Rhino label.

Concert tickets are $28 for adults and $20 for seniors and $18 students. For ticket reservations or for more information about STC call (800) 474-1299.

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Skyline Theatre Company is Bergen County's professional theatre company bringing together professional performers, designers and staff from New York City and the surrounding area to produce musicals and plays. Visit www.skylinetheatrecompany.org.

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