The Cape Playhouse in Massachusetts presents the new production, with Tony Award winner Uggams (Hallelujah, Baby!) as Anna and Metz (Fiddler on the Roof, Marie Christine) as estranged daughter Angel, who returns to her roots to find her mother is selling off the family-owned roller rink. Past resentments, tensions, dynamics and power struggles resurface.
(Suggesting a Coney Island-like area, the setting was described in the 1984 Playbill as "a roller rink somewhere on the Eastern seaboard. The 1970s.")
Rehearsals began June 19 toward a Cape Cod run July 3-15.
Michael Unger directs a company that will also include Bill Kocis (as Lenny, et al), Jesse Swimm (as Bobby et al), Eric Morris (as Danny, et al), Maurice Emmanuel Parent (as Buddy, et al), Michael Minarik (as Dino, et al) and Steven Berger (as Dino's Dad).
The creative team features Jennifer Paulson Lee (choreographer), Andrew Gerle (musical director), Dan Meeker (set designer), Janine McCabe (costume designer), Christopher S. Chambers (lighting designer), Matthew Walsh (sound designer). According to the Playhouse, Kander has been involved with the new production, and McNally has been apprised of any changes to the book. Unger and Kander have worked together in bringing the storytelling more in focus. Moreover, the order of musical numbers has been rearranged.
The 1984 Broadway musical famously starred Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli as a salty Italian-American mother and her aging flower-child daughter. Rivera won the Tony Award for her efforts; Minnelli left the production prematurely and was replaced by Stockard Channing. The run lasted 204 performances. The score was preserved on a cast album (a London production also got a cast album).
McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Love! Valour! Compassion!) penned the original book, Ebb wrote the lyrics and Kander the score. On Broadway, an all male ensemble (including future theatre stars Jason Alexander and Scott Ellis) played wrecking-crew workers and doubled as the men in the lives of Anna and Angel.
Fans embrace the score for its range — the soul-searching "Colored Lights," the muscular "Don't 'Ah, Ma' Me" and "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer," and the plaintive "Marry Me" and "We Can Make It."
America's longest running professional summer theatre, The Cape Playhouse, in Dennis, MA, celebrates its 80th Anniversary Season with six main-stage productions through Sept. 9. Evans Haile is artistic director.
For more information, call (877) 385-3911 or visit www.capeplayhouse.com.