York Theatre Company will offer polar contrasts in its Musicals in Mufti series the weekends of Jan. 21-23 and Jan. 28-30, with Wish You Were Here and 70, Girls, 70, respectively.
Composer Harold Rome's youthful, summertime musical comedy, Wish You Were Here, set at a Catskills resort, overflows with young romance and hope, while John Kander and Fred Ebb's 70, Girls, 70, set in an old folks' residence, is a rueful, comic look at the winter of life (sung by a gaggle of seasoned Broadway stars).
The company of 1952's Wish You Were Here includes Sara Schmidt, Perry Laylon Ojeda, Ward Saxton, Matt Bogart, David Green, Robert Ari, Michael Colby Jones, Miguel Cervantes, Kirsten Wyatt, Sunita Param and Carla Woods.
Among the youthful-sounding character names in the tuner are Itchy, Pinky, Muscles, Chick and Teddy.
The musical reading of 70, Girls, 70, the short-lived 1971 musical about old folks in a Manhattan building who mix vaudeville numbers with a criminal caper, has a list of seasoned musical comedy stars: Jane Powell (of M-G-M's "Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") as Ida, Charlotte Raye (Li'l Abner, TV's "Diff'rent Strokes") as Melba, Jane Connell (Mame, Dear World) as Eunice, George S. Irving (On Your Toes) as Walter, Helen Gallagher (Sweet Charity, TV's "Ryan's Hope") as Gert, Mimi Hines (post-Streisand Funny Girl) as Fritzi, Marilyn Cooper (West Side Story, Woman of the Year, I Can Get It For You Wholesale) as Sadie, Robert Fitch (the original Rooster in Annie) as Joe, and Danny Carroll as Pete, Janet Aycock as Lorraine, and Christopher Morgan as Eddie.
The staging will use a revised book by David Thompson (Steel Pier) and Norman L. Martin.
York's winter Musicals in Mufti series began Jan. 14-16 with Wright and Forrest's Kean. The series, with no costumes or sets and with script in hand, is meant to explore underappreciated shows that for one reason or another had a limited original run or have infrequent revivals.
"Mufti" is a term meaning civilian garb.
-- By Kenneth Jones