Ten-Hut! Workshop of Yank! Musical Has Bobby Steggert, Santino Fontana, Nellie McKay, Jeffrey Schechter

By Kenneth Jones
20 Oct 2011

Rehearsals are underway in New York City for a month-long workshop of the new musical Yank!, about gay military personnel during World War II, under the direction of David Cromer, the MacArthur Fellow acclaimed for his productions of Adding Machine, Our Town and A Streetcar Named Desire.



The developmental workshop continues to Nov. 17 and includes a private presentation of the show. The Old Globe is behind the workshop; there are also commercial producers attached to take the show to a potential wider life. Rehearsals began Oct. 20.

Playbill.com has learned that the workshop cast includes Ragtime Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert (Stu), Billy Elliot and Importance of Being Earnest veteran Santino Fontana (Mitch), pop star Nellie McKay (Helen), 2006 A Chorus Line alumnus Jeffrey Schecter (Artie), 2011 House of Blue Leaves resident Tally Sessions (Czechowski), Colt Prattes (Tennessee), Cory Michael Smith (Professor), Morgan Spector (Sarge), Jared Gertner (Melanie), Scott Barnhardt (Scarlett), Charles MacEarchern (Soldier 1), Adam Perry (Soldier 2, Interrogator), Cole Escola (India), Cody Williams (Cohen) and Brian Cali (Rotelli).

The musical was seen in a fully produced (if spartan) York Theatre Company production Off-Broadway in spring 2010 and since then has gone through rewrites and gained a new director — 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellow Cromer (Off-Broadway's When the Rain Stops Falling, Adding Machine and Our Town; the small-scale Streetcar in suburban Chicago; and Broadway's recent revival of The House of Blue Leaves).

There was also a February Manhattan reading of the show featuring the York run's Steggert, who was a Best Featured Actor Tony nominee in 2010 for Ragtime.

Yank!, in its earlier production, was a traditional-style musical (no pop or rock) with music by Joseph Zellnik and book and lyrics by David Zellnik. The music director is Rob Berman (Finian's Rainbow and Encores!). Jeffry Denman (The Producers and a performer in the York's Yank!) is the choreographer.

According to a previous Equity casting notice, "The score to Yank! pays homage to classic Broadway musicals — think pre-1970, a la South Pacific, Pajama Game, Gypsy, Guys and Dolls."

The production is still in development. The workshop is produced by Barry Weissler, Maren Berthelsen, Pam Koslow, Stuart Wilk and Matt Schicker, Keith Degi, Hugh Hayes, Jim Kierstead, Sondra Healy/Shidan Majidi in association with Joe and Sandi Black.

Yank! sheds light on a lesser-known chapter in World War II military history — the lives and loves of gay men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II.

In the spring 2010 York version of Yank!, Steggert played a 21st-century man who happens on the 1940s-era diary of a gay G.I. That story came to life, with Steggert embodying the soldier.

The 2010 York Off-Broadway production of Yank! received seven Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Musical; two Outer Critics Circle nominations, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical; and two Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

Producers previously announced an aim to launch Yank! on Broadway in fall 2011, following revisions to the libretto. The show is an original creation, not based on source material.

A revised schedule for a Broadway run has not been announced.