NYC Reading of The Inner City Mother Goose, With Annie Golden, Tina Fabrique, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Held June 17

By Michael Gioia
June 17, 2013

Annie Golden (The Full Monty, Xanadu), Tina Fabrique (Ragtime, Bring in 'da Noise…) and R&B gospel singer Cheryl Pepsii Riley lead the cast of a new version of Inner City. An industry-only presentation of the work is held June 17 in New York City.



The musical, which was seen on Broadway in 1971 and has now been renamed The Inner City Mother Goose — after the book upon which it is based — has lyrics by Eve Merriam and music by Helen Miller. Originally conceived by Tom O'Horgan, the show celebrates the ups and downs of urban life.

Directed by Michael Boyd (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) with music direction by Rob Baumgartner Jr. (Hair), the cast also includes Andrew Kober (Hair), Ashley Park, Lia Sumerano, Eric Sumpter and Frank Viveros.

According to press notes, "Once upon a time in 1969 the prolific and insightful poet, Eve Merriam, penned a book of poems using traditional nursery rhymes as a jumping off point for social and political commentary of the day. Covering such topics as crime, drug abuse, unemployment, and inadequate housing, by 1982 Ms. Merriam's book had become one of the most banned in the country. In 1971 Broadway director Tom O'Horgan conceived a new musical based on Ms. Merriam's book called Inner City. Instead of a cynical and pessimistic observation of life in the urban jungles of America, O'Horgan shaped the material into a theatrical event that was fast, funny, playful, touching and, ultimately, a rousing celebration of everyday contemporary life to which everyone – including those comfortably nestled in the suburbs - could relate."

The original Broadway production of Inner City ran for just under 100 performances and featured cast member Linda Hopkins, who was awarded the 1972 Tony Award for her performance. A cast album was recorded by RCA (recently re-issued digitally by Sony's Masterworks division), and the show developed a cult following.