Menken & Ashman's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Gets NYC Concert March 7

By Kenneth Jones
06 Mar 2003

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's first major collaboration, the Kurt Vonnegut-based God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, gets a rare New York City concert reading March 7, starring Carolee Carmello and Jim Walton.



The concert of the show's songs (but not the libretto) is part of the CooperArts series at the Cooper Union in Manhattan, which previously offered separate concerts of Via Galactica and Jason Robert Brown songs. The series is curated and produced by Howard Stokar.

Tickets for the concert, which will offer a glimpse into a collaboration that would later net Academy Awards and nominations, were still available as of the afternoon of March 6.

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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater was first seen Off Broadway at the WPA Theatre and then at the Entermedia Theatre in 1978. Book and lyrics are by the late Ashman (based on the novel by Vonnegut), with additional lyrics by Dennis Green, and music is by Menken. Menken and Ashman became famous for Little Shop of Horrors, and Disney's "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid." Ashman died of AIDS complications in 1991; his only original Broadway credit was Smile.

The 7:30 PM March 7 concert in The Great Hall of the Cooper Union, is directed by Peter Flynn and musical directed by Jimmy Roberts, the composer of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Expect a new cello piano arrangement, Stokar said.

Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along, Crazy for You) is Mr. Rosewater and Carolee Carmello (Parade, The Scarlet Pimpernel) is Mrs. Rosewater.

Here's how publisher Bantam Books bills the novel: "'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' is a comic masterpiece. Eliot Rosewater, drunk, volunteer fireman, and president of the fabulously rich Rosewater foundation, is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout. The result is Vonnegut's funniest satire, an etched-in-acid portrayal of the greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh we are all heir to."

The cast also includes David Pittu (as Norman Mushari), Kevin Free, Bambi Jones, Kirk McDonald and Robin Skye. Director Flynn (staged the star-studded Funny Girl benefit in September 2002).

CooperArts is a program of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The Cooper Union "is a distinguished private college of art, architecture and engineering founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, an inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. Since its establishment, all admitted undergraduate students have received full tuition scholarships."

The Cooper Union Great Hall is at East 7th Street at Third Avenue. Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for seniors and students. For reservations, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200.