Klea Blackhurst Stars in Ethel Merman Role in Mufti Happy Hunting, Beginning March 15

By Andrew Gans
March 15, 2013

The York Theatre Company's production of Happy Hunting — part of the Winter 2013 Musicals in Mufti Series — is presented March 15-17 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's.



Directed by David Glenn Armstrong and with music direction by David Andrews Rogers, the cast features Klea Blackhurst as Liz Livingstone with Janine DiVita, Joy Franz, Jessica Grové, Seán Martin Hingston, Michael McCormick, Heather Parcells, Andrew Samonsky, Eric Sciotto, Michael Sharon and Lynne Wintersteller.

Happy Hunting has a book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, lyrics by Matt Dubey and music by Harold Karr. The musical was originally a star vehicle written for Ethel Merman.

"When Liz Livingstone — rich, widowed Philadelphia hostess with a heart of gold — perceives a snub at the Grace Kelly-Prince Rainier 'Wedding of the Year' in Monaco, she single-mindedly sets out to snare an even more impressively titled husband for her daughter," according to York notes. "Things get predictably complicated when she succeeds and then promptly falls for her intended son-in-law herself. Meanwhile, the bride-to-be only has eyes for the society lawyer, and Liz's dashing Duke turns out to be very possibly penniless."

"I am genetically predisposed toward celebrating the works of Ethel Merman," said actress Blackhurst in an earlier statement. "I know a lot about the First Lady of Musical Theatre and have enjoyed playing some of her most celebrated roles. I've walked miles in those tiny pumps and enjoyed life from behind her proverbial highball.…But never, in my wildest dreams, did I expect someone to come knocking and ask me to take a swing at Happy Hunting! It takes a genius and a fabulous theatre company to make that call."

The production also features associate direction by Wendy Seyb and assistant music direction by Beth Ertz. Jenny Leon is assistant to the director, and Steven Cardona is the assistant to the associate director. The production stage manager is Bernita Robinson.

Performances are Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2:30 PM and 8 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM. Audience discussions follow matinees.

Tickets are priced at $39.50 and are available online at yorktheatre.org, by calling (212) 935-5820, or in person at the box office at the York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue).

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Musicals in Mufti series presents musicals in a simply-staged, book-in-hand concert format; Mufti means "in street clothes, without the trappings associated with the original full productions."

View the Entire Photo Gallery
(Standing) Jessica Grové, Michael McCormick, Janine DiVita, Andrew Samonsky, Michael Sharon, Heather Parcells, Seán Martin Hingston, and Eric Sciotto; (Seated) Joy Franz, Klea Blackhurst and Lynne Wintersteller
Photo by David Loughner/York Theatre Company