By Kenneth Jones
06 Jan 2009
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
The provocative new production of the classic 1940 Rodgers & Hart musical has a revised book by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg that adds an extra jolt of passion to the tale of a hustler-showman and the three women in his life.
The Joe Mantello-directed production stars Tony winner Stockard Channing as Vera Simpson, newcomer Matthew Risch as Joey Evans, Tony nominee Martha Plimpton as Gladys Bumps and Jenny Fellner as good-girl Linda English.
The new book is based on the original libretto by John O'Hara. Pal Joey has music direction by Tony winner Paul Gemignani and choreography by Graciela Daniele.
Pal Joey began previews on Nov. 14, 2008, and opened officially on Dec. 18, 2008, at Studio 54.
The design team includes two-time Tony winner Scott Pask (sets), five-time Tony winner William Ivey Long (costumes), Tony nominee Paul Gallo (lights), Tony Meola (sound), Don Sebesky (orchestrator), Eric Stern (dance arranger) and Paul Huntley (hair and wig design).
Here's how Roundabout bills the show: "Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, Pal Joey is the story of Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song and dance man with dreams of owning his own nightclub. Joey abandons his wholesome girlfriend Linda English, to charm a rich, married older woman, Vera Simpson, in the hope that she'll set him up in business."
The Rodgers & Hart score includes "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "I Could Write a Book," "You Mustn't Kick It Around," "Chicago" and more. This new production also features "I'm Talking to My Pal," a song that had been dropped from the score during its out-of-town tryout, plus two interpolated Rodgers & Hart songs.
Tony winner Christian Hoff, who had been set to star in the title role, bowed out of the production during previews following an injury. His understudy, Risch, now stars.
For tickets or more information call (212) 719-1300 or visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.