York Mufti Series With Rodgers as Focus Will Bounce From January to April

News   York Mufti Series With Rodgers as Focus Will Bounce From January to April The York Theatre Company's January 2002 "Musicals in Mufti" musicals-in-concert series devoted to works by Richard Rodgers will be bumped to April, the not-for-profit company announced Jan. 8.

The York Theatre Company's January 2002 "Musicals in Mufti" musicals-in-concert series devoted to works by Richard Rodgers will be bumped to April, the not-for-profit company announced Jan. 8.

The intimate, dressed-down readings (mufti is a term meaning in civilian clothes) have become a signature of the York, which is devoted to producing new musicals and reviving old ones at its Manhattan digs in The Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citicorp building at Lexington and 54th. Rodgers and Hart's By Jupiter will be performed April 5-7, Rodgers and Peter Stone's Androcles & The Lion plays April 12-14 and Rodgers & Hammerstein's Me & Juliet will be performed April 19-21.

"The decision to reschedule the Musicals in Mufti series will ensure York's long-term financial health," says managing director Peter Poliakine, in a statement. "Like many New York City businesses, we were adversely affected by the events of Sept. 11 and need to reschedule the series."

Dates for the previously announced (in summer 2001) works by composer Rodgers, who was born 100 years ago in 2002, were to be Jan. 11-13 (for Rodgers and Hammerstein's backstage musical comedy, Me and Juliet, a flop from 1953), Jan. 18-20 (for the rare revival of his 1967 TV musical, "Androcles and the Lion," based on Shaw, with a book by Peter Stone and music and lyrics by Rodgers) and Jan. 25-27 (for the 1942 Rodgers and Hart romp, By Jupiter). By Jupiter has Klea Bluckhurst attached as a star, directed by Ted Sod.

* As a lyricist writing to his own music, Rodgers also penned new songs for the film, "The Sound of Music," and the songs for Broadway's No Strings. Joe Layton staged the TV version of "Androcles and the Lion." Rodgers devotes exactly three sentences to the project in his autobiography, "Musical Stages." The show "didn't come off well," he wrote.

The 1942 Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical comedy, By Jupiter, with a score that includes "Nobody's Heart," "Ev'rything I've Got" and "Wait Till You See Her,"was the last show Rodgers and Hart wrote together (although they collaborated on a revival of A Connecticut Yankee before lyricist Hart's death).

Mufti shows are done without costumes, with script in hand.

*

The York also announced Jan. 8 that it would present the American premiere of a new musical, Prodigal, beginning Feb. 26. The show, inspired by the "Prodigal Son" Bible tale, has book and lyrics by Dean Bryant and music by Mathew Frank. It was previously seen in Australia. Joshua Park, Kerry Butler, David Hess, Christian Borle and Alison Fraser star.

— By Kenneth Jones