By Mervyn Rothstein
23 Mar 2012
|Photo by Rodgers & Hammerstein – An Imagem Company|
It is, Ted Chapin says, the Rodgers and Hammerstein show "nobody knows."
Chapin, president and executive director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, is talking about Pipe Dream, which is being presented as part of the City Center Encores! concert series March 28-April 1. It was the composing team's seventh musical, coming after major hits — Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I — but also immediately after a relative failure, Me and Juliet. Pipe Dream opened in November 1955, and with 246 performances is the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that had the shortest run on Broadway.
The much starrier Encores! cast features Will Chase (Michael Swift/Joe DiMaggio of TV's "Smash") as Doc; Laura Osnes (Bonnie and Clyde, Anything Goes, South Pacific) as Suzy; Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams (Hallelujah, Baby!) as madam Fauna; and Tom Wopat as Doc's friend Mac. David Ives, an Encores! regular, has adapted Hammerstein's libretto. Marc Bruni, who directed Fanny at Encores!, directs.
From the very beginning, he says, "Encores! has always felt that shows by great musical theatre writers that may not have succeeded originally were always worth taking a look at, were always worth revisiting. It underscores the notion, which some people find hard to take on, that Encores! is not about pre-Broadway possibilities but really about giving an audience in New York that likes musical theatre a sense of what shows from another era were like, hopefully accentuating the positives and minimizing the aspects of the shows that weren't that great."Continued...