You Don't Know Paree: Lost Musicals Stages Concert of Fifty Million Frenchmen

News   You Don't Know Paree: Lost Musicals Stages Concert of Fifty Million Frenchmen
 
Fifty Million Frenchmen, Cole Porter's fizzy 1929 musical about Americans abroad — singing such lines as "do do that voodoo that you do so well" — gets revived in a Manhattan concert run that begins Sept. 17.
Sondra Lee
Sondra Lee Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Lost Musicals is presenting the show, with its original libretto by Herbert Fields. The four-performance run will feature cabaret star and Algonquin regular KT Sullivan; Sondra Lee, Broadway's original Tiger Lily from Peter Pan,; Forbidden Broadway regular Christine Pedi; Donna Coney Island (from Off Broadway’s Talk of the Town); Catherine Lavalle (The Light in the Piazza); Maurice Edwards (of Broadway's original cast of Fiddler on the Roof) and Mary Ellen Ashley (original casts of Annie Get Your Gun and Yentl), with Katie Adams, Roger De Witt, Richard Marshall, Sean McKenzie, Keith Merrill, Michelle Niklaus, Dale Radunz, Jeffrey Stern, and Mark Vietor.

The musical director is Mark Mitchell, of Broadway's The Light in the Piazza, The Producers, Kiss Me, Kate.

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The Manhattan concert is by London-based Lost Musicals, the non-profit troupe specializing in "neglected musicals by America's finest theatre writers."

Fifty Million Frenchmen will play 6:30 PM Sept. 17, 24 and 29, and Oct. 8 at the French Institute's Florence Gould Hall. The musical comedy, which has a book by Herbert Fields, has been presented in concert form in the U.S. in recent years. This concert is billed as "the first-ever revival of the show using the classic Herbert Fields script." Ian Marshall Fisher directs.

Echoing the fizzy, optimistic Jazz Age that spawned it, "Fifty Million Frenchmen follows a group of well-to-do Americans unleashed in Paris and looking for excitement," according to Lost Musicals. The show is packed with such choice songs as "You've Got That Thing," "You Don't Know Paree," "You Do Something to Me," "The Tale of the Oyster" and "I Worship You."

A studio recording of the show was released in 1991 and is cherished by fans as the most complete recording of the score to date. Evans Haile conducted. Kim Criswell, Karen Ziemba, Howard McGillin, Kay McClelland, Susan Powell, Jason Graae, Peggy Cass and others are heard on it.

The original Broadway version of Fifty Million Frenchmen has not been seen in New York City since its 1929 run at the Lyceum Theatre, according to Lost Musicals. There have been modified concert presentations of it, however — Musicals Tonight! staged a piano-and-voice concert version in 2001, and included cut songs.

Florence Gould Hall is at 55 E. 59th Street, between Park and Madison. Tickets are $40 and $60 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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For 17 years, Ian Marshall Fisher and Lost Musicals in London have specialized in presented neglected American-penned musicals in London's Royal Opera House, Barbican Center and Sadler's Wells. The performances are regularly broadcast on the BBC.

The mission is to present the material, especially "the book," as it was originally written.

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