Graff, Ashmanskas, Brescia, Osnes, von Essen Explore Broadway: Three Generations Oct. 2-5
By Andrew Gans
Academy Award winner Shirley Jones hosts the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Broadway: Three Generations, a three-act evening featuring condensed versions of Girl Crazy, Bye Bye Birdie and Side Show that begins performances Oct. 2.
The starry cast boasts Randy Graff, Brooks Ashmanskas, Lisa Brescia, Jenn Colella, Michael McElroy, Laura Osnes, Max von Essen, Ned Eisenberg, Leslie Kritzer, Michael Mulheren, James Snyder and Bobby Steggert.
Three Generations, which reopens the renovated Eisenhower Theater, "[tracks] the development of the Broadway musical over three overlapping generations of composers," according to press notes.
The early generation is represented by George and Ira Gershwin's musical comedy Girl Crazy. The 1930s musical "tells of the son of a wealthy Manhattanite who is shipped to an all-male southwestern university to forestall his playboy ways. There, he falls for a pretty but uninterested local girl and saves the university from financial ruin by making it co-ed."
Von Essen plays the role of Danny Churchill with Tony winner Graff as Kate Fothergill, Ashmanskas as Slick Fothergill, Eisenberg as Gieber Goldfarb and Colella as Molly Gray.
The second generation is represented by the aforementioned Bye Bye Birdie. The Charles Strouse-Lee Adams-Michael Stewart musical "follows rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie and the complications that arise when his agent stages a publicity stunt on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' in which he will kiss one lucky girl from Sweet Apple, Ohio before being drafted into the Army."
The cast features Ashmanskas as Albert Peterson, Brescia as Mrs. MacAfee, Eisenberg as Harry MacAfee, Graff as Mae Peterson, Kritzer as Rose Alvarez, Osnes as Kim MacAfee, Snyder as Conrad Birdie and Steggert as Hugo.
Broadway's current generation of songwriters is represented by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell's Side Show, which tells "the story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton."
The Side Show cast comprises Colella as Daisy Hilton, Brescia as Violet Hilton, McElroy as Jake, Mulheren as Boss, Steggert as Buddy Foster and von Essen as Terry Connor.
The design team for Broadway: Three Generations is composed of set designer James Noone, lighting designer Ken Billington and sound designer Peter Hylenski. James Moore is the music director, and Tom Briggs serves as adaptor.
Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM.
Tickets, priced $25-$90, are available by visiting www.kennedy-center.org.
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