Musicals Tonight! 2013-14 Season Will Feature Marvin Hamlisch's Smile, Cole Porte's Mexican Hayride and More

By Michael Gioia
August 26, 2013

Musicals Tonight!, the Obie-winning company dedicated to the revival of neglected musicals, will kick off its 16th New York season with Cole Porte's Mexican Hayride beginning Oct. 8.

Directed by Thomas Sabella-Mills with music direction by James Stenborg, performances will continue through Oct. 20. Mexican Hayride, which features a book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields and a score by Porter, includes songs such as "A Humble Hollywood Executive," "He Certainly Kills the Women," "There Must Be Someone for Me" and "Sing to Me Guitar."

Here's how it's billed: "Joe, a small-time American racketeer in Mexico on the run from the FBI, tries to elude the local authorities (and his wife) but runs afoul of a female bullfighter - Montana, her manager - Lombo, and Latin singer - Lolita."

Following Mexican Hayride will be Marvin Hamlisch's Smile, which will run Oct. 22-Nov. 3 under the direction of Sabella-Mills and music director David Bishop.

Smile, which features a score by Hamlisch and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, "is loosely based on the 1975 film of the same title, and chronicles the backstage dramas of the fictional California Young American Miss beauty pageant," according to press notes. Songs include "Disneyland," "Smile," "In Our Hands," "Very Best Week of Your Lives" and "Dear Mom."

Sabella-Mills will also direct Will Holt's Come Summer, which will run March 4-16. James Stenborg will be the production's musical director.

Come Summer, based on the 1954 novel "Rainbow on the Road" with book and lyrics by Holt and music by David Baker, is "set in New England 1840 when towns were visited by itinerant peddlers, painters and the like – long on charm but short on responsibility to those women they practiced their charm on," according to press notes. Songs include "Think Spring," "Skin and Bones," "Wild Birds Calling," "Goodbye, My Bachelor," "Good Time Charlie" and "Fine, Thank You, Fine."

George and Ira Gershwin's For Goodness Sake will run March 18-30 under the direction of Sabella-Mills and music director David Bishop.

For Goodness Sake features a book by Fred Jackson with lyrics by Arthur Jackson, music by William Daly and Paul Lannin and "additional music" by George Gershwin and "additional lyrics" by Arthur Francis (Ira Gershwin's early nom de plume). Songs include "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," "Oh, Gee, Oh, Gosh" and "The Whichness of Whatness."

Rodgers and Hart's America's Sweetheart will conclude the season, running April 1-13 under the direction of Sabella-Mills with music direction by James Stenborg.

America's Sweetheart has a score with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and book by Herbert Fields. Here's how it's billed: "Two young lovers hitchhike to Hollywood to make their mark in silent films where she hits it big and he doesn't - until talkies appear and the tables are reversed. It all ends happily, however." Songs include "I've Got Five Dollars," "A Lady Must Live," "I Want a Man," "Innocent Chorus Girls of Yesterday" and "You Ain't Got No Savoir Faire."

Under the leadership of founder and artistic director Mel Miller, Musicals Tonight! performs two-week runs at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row Studios at 410 West 42nd Street.

Musicals Tonight! also hosts the At This Performance! concert series designed to showcase talented Broadway standbys and understudies. The 2013-14 series dates of At This Performance! are Oct. 14, 27, March 10, 23 and April 7 at 7 PM at the Lion Theatre.

For more information and tickets, call (212) 560-2186 or visit