Debra Monk is the flamboyant Aunt Louise in the Nov. 11-15 private Manhattan reading of Pamela's First Musical, the new musical by composer Cy Coleman, lyricist David Zippel and librettist Wendy Wasserstein, based on Wasserstein's illustrated children's book.
Lincoln Center Theater is producing the reading, helmed by director-choreographer Graciela Daniele (Once On This Island, Marie Christine).
The cast includes Sara Niemietz (the young Carol Burnett character in Hollywood Arms) as Pamela, whose auntie whisks her into a day of hob-nobbing, restaurant hopping and theatregoing; Robert Klein as producer Bernie S. Gerry; Brent Barrett as Pamela's dad, Kevin; Lauren Mitchell as Lyndell, Kevin's girlfriend. Gordon Harrell is musical director.
Rehearsals began Nov. 11 toward a private reading Nov. 15 for the creative team.
"It Started With a Dream," a new song by City of Angels songwriters Coleman and Zippel, is expected to be heard in the LCT reading of their new family-friendly show. This represents the first reading of the show.
Wasserstein is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of The Heidi Chronicles, The Sisters Rosensweig and An American Daughter.
The 1998 book, illustrated by the Broadway scenic designer Andrew Jackness, tells of how young Pamela is whisked off by her artsy, quirky, connected Aunt Louise to lunch at the Russian Tea Room (which has since closed) and then to a splashy Broadway musical. She later meets the company of performers and creators and learns that making art starts with a dream in the imagination.
Wasserstein's most recent play, her multi-generational drama, Old Money, played Lincoln Center Theater in 2000-01. She won the Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles and also penned the popular Isn't It Romantic?
Coleman introduced "It Started With a Dream" on a CD of songs released earlier this year on the Sony label. The song — about the creative process — was sung Jan. 18 at a Carnegie Hall concert featuring Coleman's music. The concert and disc were both titled It Started With a Dream.
Composer Coleman's works include Little Me, Sweet Charity, On the 20th Century, Barnum, City of Angels and The Will Rogers Follies. His last Broadway effort was the Tony-nominated tuner, The Life.
Zippel's lyrics were recently showcased at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia, in a revision of an earlier all Zippel revue, It's Better With a Band. He penned lyrics for the films "Mulan" and "Hercules," and won the Tony with Coleman for City of Angels.
— By Kenneth Jones