Noah Racey, tap-happy in Broadway's Never Gonna Dance, stars in the title role, created by Ray Bolger, in which a romantic Oxford lad invites the audience to sing along (a now-famous) musical comedy standard — "Once in Love With Amy."
Tony Award-winning designer Tony Walton stages the show and oversaw the Abbott script and Loesser score revisions (including the interpolation of other Loesser songs to fill out a lean songlist). Based on Brandon Thomas' 1892 London farce Charley's Aunt, Where's Charley? opened on Broadway in 1948.
Audiences might know "Once in Love With Amy" or "My Darling, My Darling" from the score, but the show itself doesn't ring bells in the popular imagination. Occasional revivals (Broadway in 1974, Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2002) haven't made lasting impressions, and there was no Broadway cast album (though some songs were recorded featuring original stars Ray Bolger and Allyn McLerie).
"One of the reasons why people don't know it too well is that it's rather light, musically," Walton previously told Playbill On-Line. "For example, it has six less songs than Guys and Dolls, which was the next musical [Loesser] wrote. Luckily, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Frank's widow, has encouraged me to dig into the trunk, as it were, and see what else he wrote around that year that conceivably might have been written for the show or might have been written in a similar frame of mind."
Where's Charley? focuses on "two Oxford chaps as they woo their proper ladies without supervision," according to Goodspeed. "A bit of trouble ensues when Charley's 'aunt' drops by for a visit, setting off a chain of unexpected antics." Opening is Aug. 11. Lisa Shriver choreographs. Walton is an Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner best known as a set and costume designer. Most recently, Walton directed Song of Twilight for Bay Street Theatre, and directed and designed The Importance of Being Earnest and Major Barbara for the Irish Repertory Theatre.
Where's Charley? features Nili Bassman as Amy, Paul Carlin, Drew Eshelman, Kristin Huxhold, Mary Illes, Greg Mills and Ron Lee Savin. The cast also includes Evan Ashley Bryant; Callie Carter, Christian Delcroix, Jennifer Evans, Josh Grisetti, Elizabeth Inghram, Michael D. Jablonski, Dayla Perkins, Amber Stone and Jeff Williams. Geoff Packard and Collette Simmons are swings.
The musical director for Where's Charley? is Michael O'Flaherty. Bill Thomas is assistant musical director. Orchestrations are by Larry Moore. Walton and Kelly Hanson design the sets. Walton and Martha Bromelmeier design the costumes.
Lighting design is by Richard Pilbrow. Where's Charley? is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.
For more information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.