Wasserman Pens New Book for Ellington's Beggar's Holiday; Broadway Likely

News   Wasserman Pens New Book for Ellington's Beggar's Holiday; Broadway Likely Dale Wasserman — of Man of La Mancha fame — has a written a new book for Beggar's Holiday, the lone musical from the Duke Ellington canon.

Variety reports that the revised version of Beggar's Holiday will premiere at Mill Valley, California's Marin Playhouse before possible San Francisco and Broadway engagements. Lee Sankowich, who directed the original production of Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, will helm the production, which begins performances Sept. 7. Beggar's Holiday will feature new orchestrations by Donald York and choreography by former San Francisco Ballet dancer Richard Gibbs.

Based on John Gay's 1728 The Beggar's Opera, Beggar's Holiday was a controversial production when it debuted on Broadway in 1946, as the show featured Broadway's first interracial kiss. Beggar's Holiday tells the familiar tale of mobster and lover Macheath, his three women, their tough lives among the lower class city dwellers and a barely escaped execution that leads to a happy ending.

John Latouche (Cabin in the Sky, Candide) wrote the book and lyrics to the Ellington score, which features "Brown Penny," "Take Love Easy," "I Wanna Be Bad," "Tooth and Claw" and "I've Got Me."

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