Christopher Fitzgerald and Blair Brown star in the Williamstown Theater Festival's new revival of the George Abbott and Frank Loesser musical Where's Charley, which inaugurates the 2002 Mainstage season on June 19.
Brown won a Tony Award for Copenhagen on Broadway, where she also appeared in Cabaret and Arcadia. She will play Donna Lucia. Christopher Fitzgerald will play the demanding title role. Simon Jones is Sir Francis Chesney, Paxton Whitehead is Mr. Spettigue and Jessica Stone plays Amy (as in "Once in Love With Amy," the show's best known tune).
Also in the cast are Tom Lacey as Brassett, Sarah Schmidt as Kitty Verdun and David Turner as Jack Chesney.
Christopher Fitzgerald plays the part created by Ray Bolger. Fitzgerald and Williamstown are well acquainted. The comic actor appeared in The Winter's Tale and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme at the 2001 festival. The Charley role, however, provides Fitzgerald—who acted Off-Broadway in Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi and Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night—with his most challenging role to date, and an open invitation to exploit his skills as an improvisor and cut-up.
Loesser made his Broadway debut with this 1948 musical adaptation of the classic London farce by Brandon Thomas, in which an Oxford undergraduate disguises himself as his pal's aunt, so that he and his friends might be properly chaperoned when some lady friends come to call. Ray Bolger played the title role in the original. He is widely credited with saving the show, which was not well received. In particular, he made a hit out of the score's most enduring number, "Once in Love with Amy." Bolger would sing, dance, and cut up—even encourage the audience to sing along—during the song each night. Theatregoers and critics were delighted with Bolger and the show has a long run.
For ticket information, call (413) 458-3200.
—By Robert Simonson