York Theatre Company's fall 2002 season of Musicals in Mufti, the popular line of underappreciated musicals in concert readings, will feature shows all linked to director George Abbott: Rodgers and Hart's Jumbo, Bob Merrill's New Girl in Town and the Elmer Bernstein-Carolyn Leigh collaboration, How Now, Dow Jones.
Jumbo, from 1935, is a circus-set show with a score by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart ("Little Girl Blue," "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," "My Romance") and book by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Jay Binder, the casting director who also directs, will helm the performances, Nov. 1-3.
How Now, Dow Jones, from 1967, ran 220 performances on the plot of a romance that sets Wall Street in a panic. Max Shulman wrote the libretto, and the score represents one of two Broadway shows written by film composer Elmer Bernstein ("The Grifters"). His other show was Merlin. The standout song from the show is "Step to the Rear," though the recently reissued cast album on CD shows Leigh at her frisky best writing quirky Hart-worthy lyrics about sex, men, women and expectation. It plays Nov. 8-10 under Sheryl Kaller's direction.
New Girl in Town, playing Nov. 15-17, is composer-lyricist Bob Merrill's musical version of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, with a book by Abbott. Michael Montel directs the show, which was a triumph for its original star, Gwen Verdon.
Casting will be announced shortly. Mufti and York's mainstage shows are presented at The Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citicorp Center at 54th and Lexington in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 935-5820 or visit www.yorktheatre.org. — By Kenneth Jones