James Brennan plays Bill Snibson, "a happy-go-lucky cockney lad [who] discovers that he is the long-lost heir to a royal throne and an enormous fortune" in the summer staging of the British musical by songwriter Noel Gay. Foster will play is sweetheart, Sally Smith. Brennan played Bill on Broadway, where he also appeared as Bobby in Crazy for You.
The score includes "The Lambeth Walk," "Once Your Lose Your Heart," "Leaning on a Lamppost" and other songs that Broadway fell in love with when director Mike Ockrent and writer Stephen Fry dusted off this 1930s confection (by composer Noel Gay, writer-lyricist L. Arthur Rose and lyricist Douglas Furber).
The Pittsburgh cast also includes Eleanor Glockner (Maria, Duchess of Dene), Walter Charles (Sir John Tremayne), Ann Kittredge (Lady Jacqueline Carstone), John Hickok (The Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke) and Tim Jerome, who will recreate Herbert Parchester, the "family solicitor," a role which he originated on the Broadway stage (earning a Tony Award nomination for it), with Ted Brunetti Sr. (Sir Jasper Tring), Jeff Howell (Lord Battersby), Amanda Serra (Lady Battersby) and Terry Wickline (Mrs. Brown) and Gene Saraceni (Charles Heathersett).
Charles Repole directs, with choreography by Alan Coats. Tom Helm is musical director.
Performances play the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. For information, call (412) 456-6666 or visit www.PittsburghCLO.org. *
According to PittsburghCLO, Lupino Lane, a British comic star of the early 20th century, was known for his acrobatic dancing and irresistible charm. He frequently performed as his alter ego, Bill Snibson, and commissioned Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber and Noel Gay to write Me and My Girl based on the character.
Around the time of the writing of the show, in 1936, King Edward VII abdicated the throne of England, and Lane insisted that the writers draw on this theme, and it became the central plot of Me and My Girl. The show enjoyed mild success, but it wasn't until Lane performed "The Lambeth Walk" on British radio as a last effort to keep the show running that the song became an international hit, according to production notes.
When Lane died in 1959, he had performed the role over 5,000 times. It wasn't until the early 1980s that Richard Armitage, the son of composer Noel Gay, set the wheels in motion for a revival. With the help of actor-writer Stephen Fry and director Mike Orkrent, the show's physical routines were reworked to feature more musical numbers. The show opened in 1985 in London's West End before it made the move to Broadway later that year. Premiering on Broadway on Aug. 10, 1986, the show was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 1987 and won three including one for each of its stars, Robert Lindsey and Maryann Plunkett, and also for Best Choreography. (It was the same season Les Misérables bowed on Broadway.)