William Finn Revue Make Me a Song Snags Zipper Theatre for April Bow

News   William Finn Revue Make Me a Song Snags Zipper Theatre for April Bow Make Me a Song, the revue of William Finn tunes that wowed critics and fans when it played Hartford, CT, last fall will move to Off-Broadway's Zipper Theatre for an April 6 first preview.
Sandy Binion in the CT production of Make Me a Song
Sandy Binion in the CT production of Make Me a Song Photo by Lanny Nagler

Producers Junkyard Dog Productions (Randy Adams and Sue Frost) and Larry Hirschhorn, in association with Jayson Raitt, announced the commercial run, which will open April 19 at the funky Zipper, where the seating is made up of old car seat cushions (some with seat belts intact), on West 37th Street.

Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn reunites the team that created the eclectic Finn show at TheaterWorks in Hartford August-September 2006: director-conceiver Rob Ruggiero, a rising voice in American theatres; performers Sandy Binion, Joe Cassidy, Adam Heller, Sally Wilfert and pianist John DiPinto. Music direction is by Michael Morris.

The performance is billed as "a theatrical revue showcasing the songs of one of the most acclaimed composer-lyricists currently writing for the musical theatre."

A two–time Tony Award winner for the groundbreaking musical Falsettos, William Finn is currently represented on Broadway with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. "Featuring classics from these shows juxtaposed with rarely-heard selections from Romance in Hard Times, Elegies and the yet to be produced The Royal Family, Make Me a Song is big, boisterous and life-loving, like Finn himself," according to the announcement.

The production has scenic design by Luke Hegel-Cantarella, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by John Lasiter and sound design by Tony Meola and Kai Harada. Make Me a Song is the first commercial enterprise from the new partnership of two major figures from resident American musical theatre: Sue Frost was associate producer for Goodspeed Musicals for many years, and Randy Adams helped run TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, CA, as managing director 1984-2006. Both of those not-for-profit theatres (and both players) are known and respected for their commitment for seeking out and developing new musicals. Their Junkyard Dog Productions is based in New York City.

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Director Ruggiero has been the associate artistic director at TheaterWorks in Hartford for 13 years, and has directed over 30 productions there, including The Exonerated and the highly successful Ella (also co-conception) starring Tina Fabrique. The latter is playing a number of regional theatres this season. His work has been seen at a number of other regional theatres including Pittsburgh Public Theater, Barrington Stage Company, and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, where he directed the critically acclaimed production of Take Me Out, which recently won four Kevin Kline Awards, including one for Best Director of a Play.

Binion has worked with director Rob Ruggiero on several projects, including Elegies, Falsettos (Trina) and No Way to Treat a Lady (Sarah). She appeared in Jane Eyre: The Musical on Broadway, the first national tour of Sunset Boulevard performing Norma Desmond, and the Off-Broadway production of ShowTunes: the Music and Lyrics of Jerry Herman.

Cassidy most recently appeared on Broadway as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels performing opposite both John Lithgow and Jonathan Pryce. Other Broadway credits include Les Miserables (Valjean), 1776 (Rutledge), Show Boat (Ravenal). He was a featured soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, the Nashville Symphony and in March, with the Baltimore Symphony.

Heller appeared in Graciela Daniele's groundbreaking production of William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, and subsequently toured in James Lapine's production of Falsettos. His Broadway credits include Caroline, Or Change; A Class Act; Victor/Victoria and Les Misérables.

Wilfert appeared on Broadway in Assassins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Disney's King David. Off-Broadway credits include The Mistress Cycle and The Prince & The Pauper.

DiPinto is musical director for several new projects currently in development: The Black Suits for Manhattan Class Company, Sweet Billy And The Zooloos for Colored Girl Productions, and The Rose Project and Golden Motors for Music Theatre Group.

Morris (musical director/additional vocal arrangements) graduated from Boston's Berklee College of Music at age 18 then worked in Nashville before becoming Director of Music for the Hartt School Theater Division. Orchestration credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and O. Henry's Lovers (Goodpseed), The Game and Sweet Charity (Barrington Stage Company), Dennis DeYoung's Hunchback of Notre Dame (Tennessee Rep) also workshops of Kevorkian Café (Niko Associates) and Hot and Sweet (Hartt).

The Zipper Theatre is at 336 West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The performance schedule for Make Me a Song will be Monday through Friday at 8 PM and Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM through April 21; and (beginning April 24) Tuesday through Friday evenings at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM., and Sundays at 3 PM and 7 PM.

Tickets are priced at $60 and are will be available by calling (212) 352-3101 or (866) 811-4111; or online at www.zippertheatre.com.

Sally Wilfert, John DiPinto, Adam Heller, Sandy Binion and Joe Cassidy in the TheaterWorks production of <i>Make Me a Song</i>
Sally Wilfert, John DiPinto, Adam Heller, Sandy Binion and Joe Cassidy in the TheaterWorks production of Make Me a Song Photo by Lanny Nagler
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