The Old Globe Salutes Yank! Musical With Fall Workshop; Weisslers Attached
By Kenneth Jones
The Old Globe in San Diego is behind a fall workshop of the Broadway-aimed musical Yank!, about gay military personnel during World War II. Director David Cromer and the project's writers will explore the latest draft of the show Oct. 20-Nov. 20, according to an Equity casting notice.
Playbill.com has learned that commercial producers Fran and Barry Weissler (Chicago, The Scottsboro Boys) are now also attached to the show's development. The fall workshop will be in New York City. 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 — the acclaimed Cromer (Off-Broadway's Adding Machine and Our Town, and Broadway's current The House of Blue Leaves).
There was also a February Manhattan reading of the show featuring the York run's star Bobby Steggert (a 2010 Tony Award nominee for Ragtime). No casting has been announced for the Old Globe workshop.
The traditional-style musical (don't expect pop or rock) has 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 an 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 February 2011 Roundabout Theatre Company workshop was produced by special arrangement with Maren Bethelsen/Pam Koslow/Stuart Wilk, and Matt Schicker, Hugh Hayes, Jim Kierstead, Sondra Healy/Shidan Majidi, Karl E. Held, and 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 gay 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.
In addition to Steggert (The Grand Manner, A Minister's Wife), the 2011 Roundabout workshop cast included Nellie McKay, Santino Fontana, Michael Berresse, Tally Sessions, Colt Prattes, Derrick Trumbly, Charles MacEachern, Jeremy Cohen, Morgan Spector, Tyler Maynard, Cole Escola, Jeff Hiller, Brad Bass, Cody Williams and Colin Bradbury.
Producers previously announced an aim to launch Yank! A WWII Love Story 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.
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