L.A.'s Ahmanson Will Premiere Musicals Minsky's and 9 to 5

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24 Mar 2008

Casey Nicholaw and Bob Martin
Casey Nicholaw and Bob Martin
Photo by Aubrey Reuben
Minsky's is the new title of the Charles Strouse-Susan Birkenhead musical comedy once known as The Night They Raided Minsky's — and it's aiming for Los Angeles in 2009.

The show, which Playbill.com previously reported has new librettist Bob Martin and new director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (both of The Drowsy Chaperone) attached, is officially on the 2008-09 season of the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. The season was announced by CTG's artistic director Michael Ritchie on March 24.

Also confirmed for the season is the previously-reported fall 2008 run of the Broadway-bound 9 to 5: The Musical, with music and lyrics by multiple Grammy Award-winner Dolly Parton and a cast including Marc Kudisch as a villainous boss Mr. Hart, and Allison Janney as office manager Violet, Stephanie J. Block as frazzled divorced secretary Judy and Megan Hilty as country-girl executive secretary Doralee. Tony Award winner Joe Mantello will direct, Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights) will choreograph.

Both titles are inspired by film comedies. Bob Martin won a Tony Award for co-writing the book to The Drowsy Chaperone. Nicholaw is a Tony nominee for the choreography of Spamalot and Drowsy, and also for the direction of Drowsy. The daffy Drowsy had its pre-Broadway run at the Ahmanson. The 9 to 5 libretto is by the source movie's co-screenwriter, Patricia Resnick.

Dolly Parton
photo by Dennis Carney
9 to 5: The Musical will play Sept. 3-Oct. 19. Opening is Sept. 20.



According to CTG, "In a series of farcical events, the women inadvertently remove Hart from the workplace and keep him otherwise engaged. Taking advantage of his absence, they begin to give their workplace a dream makeover and soon rise to the top of the company that once looked at them as second-class citizens."

9 to 5 is presented by Center Theatre Group by special arrangement with Robert Greenblatt.

Minsky's will play Jan. 21-March 1, 2009 (opening Feb. 6), following a visit by the national tour of the 2007 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, Spring Awakening (Oct. 29-Dec. 7).

According to CTG, "What better way to celebrate the New Year and bring 2009 in with a bang than with the world premiere of Minsky's, a big, racy, new musical comedy set in the Roaring 20s of Prohibition Era New York City, recalling the free-spirited time of early showbiz comedians, con men, sexy chorus girls, hot music and dancing, dancing, dancing."

Composer Charles Strouse penned music to Bye Bye Birdie, Applause and Annie, and lyricist Birkenhead is known for Jelly's Last Jam and Triumph of Love.

In the show, the king of burlesque himself, Billy Minsky, reigns over the rollicking backstage world of his famed strip palace. According to CTG, "He knows well that entertainment is all about legs and laughs and that to keep the customers coming you have to push the limits. But even he's not prepared for the day he falls in love and the cops come banging on his door."

Minsky's is presented at the Ahmanson by special arrangement with Bob Boyett. It's presented in association with MGM on Stage, and based on the Bud Yorkin-Norman Lear film, "The Night They Raided Minsky's," written by Arnold Shulman, Sidney Michael and Norman Lear, directed by William Friedkin.

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The CTG/Ahmanson season also include visits by the national tours of Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon (March 2009) and Dame Edna: My First Last Tour (June 2009), as well as its own exclusive 30th anniversary production of the revue of Fats Waller tunes, Ain't Misbehavin', staged by original conceiver-director Richard Maltby Jr. (April 18-May 31, 2009). Looking far ahead to 2009-10, CTG also announced that the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical, Mary Poppins will play an engagement at the Ahmanson starting in November 2009.

"I am very happy about this new season," Ritchie stated. "These productions represent my favorite reasons for working at Center Theatre Group: We are creating two new musical comedies from the ground up, each with a creative team that I admire greatly — 9 to 5: The Musical and Minsky's; we're presenting two of the shows from the 2007 Broadway season that knocked my socks off — Spring Awakening and Frost/Nixon; we're re-visiting a musical revue that I loved years ago which celebrates America's hot, homegrown music — Ain't Misbehavin'; and, finally, we're bringing back Dame Edna — what's more fun that that!"

Shows in CTG's 2008-09 Ahmanson Theatre season are currently on available by subscription. For information, call (213) 972-4444 or visit CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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CTG presents and produces in three venues — the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre.