Von Essen will play Dominique in the Oct. 26-28 semi-staged concert production, part of the York's Musicals in Mufti series. The actor previously played the role in the 2005 Paper Mill Playhouse production of the Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical. Gordon Greenberg, who helmed the Paper Mill run, will direct here as well; Mark Hartman will be the musical director.
The Baker's Wife — with a score by Schwartz and a book by Stein — is based on the Marcel Pagnol-Jean Giono film "La Femme du Boulanger." The musical, according to production notes, "is a wry musical comedy about jealousy, lust, revenge and forgiveness. A new baker arrives in a rural French village just in time to ease the pains of the contentious villagers, who have been without bread for weeks. All is well and everyone's spirits are rising until the baker is driven to distraction and the villagers suffer the fate of breadlessness once again. To avoid yet more chaos, the villagers quickly join forces in order to bring harmony to their quaint town."
The musical features such tunes as "Gifts of Love," "Proud Lady" and the cabaret staple "Meadowlark." The original ill-fated Broadway-bound production, that never quite made it to Broadway, starred Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone and Paul Sorvino.
Max von Essen, who was part of the Kennedy Center's production of Mame, appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his additional Off-Broadway credits include The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was also part of the all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden.
All four fall Mufti offerings boast a book by Stein. The series began with Zorba and will continue with Enter Laughing: The Musical (Sept. 28-30), The Body Beautiful (Oct. 12-14) and The Baker's Wife (Oct. 26-28). Five performances of each show will be presented: Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2:30 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Audience discussions follow the matinee performances.
The Mufti series is presented at the Theatre at Saint Peter's, which is located at 54th Street, east of Lexington Avenue. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (212) 935-5820 or visit www.yorktheatre.org.
"Mufti" means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings."