PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Emily Skinner, Jason Graae, Stephen Cole and Inventing Mary Martin Cast Pick Martin Favorites
By Michael Gioia
The York Theatre Company's world premiere of the new musical Inventing Mary Martin continues in an extended engagement through May 25. Here, the cast and creator pick their favorite performances by Mary Martin as part of this week's Playbill Playlist.
Conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, the production began Off-Broadway previews April 15, prior to an official opening April 27. The run was originally scheduled to conclude May 18; performances now continue through May 25.
The four-member cast comprises Cameron Adams, Lynne Halliday, Jason Graae and Emily Skinner with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. The production also features music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, music direction by Lawrence Goldberg and co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard.
Inventing Mary Martin, according to the York, is a new "multi-media musical revue celebrating the life and career of one of Broadway’s greatest stars, Mary Martin, who created leading roles in One Touch of Venus, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, becoming one of the most glamorous and beloved stars of the American musical theatre. In this musical revue, four fabulous performers, none of whom actually plays Mary (who could?) take us on her amazing journey from naive but ambitious Texan to movie star to Broadway legend, reinventing herself constantly along the way."
Audiences can expect to hear songs by Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, Vernon Duke & Howard Dietz, Kurt Weill & Ogden Nash, Noёl Coward, Irving Berlin, Jule Styne & Carolyn Leigh, Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz, and Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, among others.
For more information, visit YorkTheatre.org/Inventing-Mary-Martin.html.
Stephen Cole: "Hi Ho" from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Disney's "Hi Ho Mary Martin Sings and Swings" (vinyl recording). [Walt] Disney loved Mary Martin and considered her for 'Mary Poppins.' She made several albums for him and always loved appealing to a younger audience. This version of the song is so jazzy and Mary-like!
Stephen Cole: "Nobody's Perfect" from the musical I Do! I Do! I grew up with this album and can do it by heart. Mary Martin and Robert Preston are perfect together, and this musical scene is the best of [Tom] Jones and [Harvey] Schmidt.
Jason Graae: "Cockeyed Optimist" from the musical South Pacific. The song has always moved me so much — it's the perfect combination of lyrics, musical composition and just downright sentiment. Lynne [Halliday] sings it joyously. Okay and well, let's see — any song that Emily Skinner sings is my favorite song in the show.
Lynne Halliday: "Only Forever" from the film "Rhythm on the River" (1940). You can see (and hear) how well-suited Mary was to the small screen. Full of emotion and her inimitable vocal stylings, it's simply gorgeous.
Emily Skinner: "The Sound of Music" from the musical The Sound of Music. Listening to Mary's version of this song is like taking a warm bath.
Emily Skinner: "A Wonderful Guy" from the musical South Pacific. The fun and joy she's having in this song is a perfect example of what made her so special and unique. She just made you feel good.
Cameron Adams: "I Don't Want to Cry Anymore." Emily [Skinner] sings it in the show, and when I heard her sing it, I immediately went home and downloaded it. Such a great song.
Cameron Adams: George Gershwin's "Do It Again" from "Broadway to Hollywood – And Back" (compilation, vinyl recording). It was in my last Broadway show, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and it's fun to hear it sung two very different ways.
Jason Graae: "I Shoulda Stood in Bed" by Mildred Bailey from Nice Goin. Closed out of town in Boston. The melody is contagious [and] David Krane's arrangement is, too. Can't believe a song so good went so unnoticed. It will get its due when Cameron Adams kills it in our show!
Lynne Halliday: "I Got Lost in His Arms" from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. Totally different from [Ethel] Merman's — lighter and more wistful without losing an ounce of power. Subtle and fabulous.
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