"Gifts of Love": The Baker's Wife Plays the York Oct. 26-28

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
26 Oct 2007

Max von Essen (background), Ren
Max von Essen (background), Ren
Photo by Ben Strothmann
The Baker's Wife, the Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein cult-favorite musical that spawned the cabaret classic "Meadowlark," begins its limited run at the York Theatre Company Oct. 26.

Part of the York's Musicals in Mufti series, the semi-staged concert production will play the Off-Broadway venue through Oct. 28.

Renée Elise Goldsberry, who created the part of Nettie in The Color Purple, stars in the title role that was preserved on vinyl by Tony winner Patti LuPone. Lenne Wolpe, Max von Essen and Gay Marshall, who starred in the 2005 Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife, repeat their roles as, respectively, the Baker, Dominique and Denise. Gordon Greenberg, who helmed that Paper Mill run, directs here as well. Mark Hartman is musical director.

The cast also features Kevin Cahoon as the Priest with Wendi Bergamini, Jacque Carnahan, Rick Crom, Betsy DiLellio, Joy Franz, Laurent Giroux, Mitchell Greenberg, Michael Medeiros, John O’Creagh, Richard Pruitt, Maureen Silliman and Clinton Zugel.

The Baker's Wife — with a score by Schwartz and a book by Stein — is based on the Marcel Pagnol-Jean Giono film "La Femme du Boulanger." The musical, according to production notes, "is a wry musical comedy about jealousy, lust, revenge and forgiveness. A new baker arrives in a rural French village just in time to ease the pains of the contentious villagers, who have been without bread for weeks. All is well and everyone's spirits are rising until the baker is driven to distraction and the villagers suffer the fate of breadlessness once again. To avoid yet more chaos, the villagers quickly join forces in order to bring harmony to their quaint town."



The musical features such tunes as "Gifts of Love," "Proud Lady" and the cabaret staple "Meadowlark." The original ill-fated Broadway-bound production, that never quite made it to Broadway, starred Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone and Paul Sorvino.

Renée Elise Goldsberry played Nettie in The Color Purple. She was also seen on Broadway as Nala in The Lion King, and she played Sylvia in the Public Theater's presentation of Two Gentlemen of Verona. She spent five years on "Ally McBeal" and was seen in the film "All About You." Goldsberry was Emmy-nominated last year for her work as Evangeline Williamson on "One Life to Live."

All four fall Mufti offerings boasted a book by Stein. The series began with Zorba and Enter Laughing: The Musical and continued with The Body Beautiful. The Baker's Wife is the final offering of the season.

Show times are Oct. 26 at 8 PM, Oct. 27 at 2:30 and 8 PM and Oct. 28 at 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Audience discussions follow the matinee performances.

The Mufti series is presented at the Theatre at Saint Peter's, which is located at 54th Street, east of Lexington Avenue. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (212) 935-5820 or visit www.yorktheatre.org.

*

"Mufti" means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings."