Candice Bergen, Sean Palmer, Jessica Grové Star in Rare Bloom of Evening Primrose

News   Candice Bergen, Sean Palmer, Jessica Grové Star in Rare Bloom of Evening Primrose
Sean Palmer and Jessica Grové play strangers who meet after taking refuge in a closed department store in a rare staged reading of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical Evening Primrose Oct. 25 in Manhattan.

Jessica Grov
Jessica Grov

Tony Walton directs the presentation. Palmer (Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid) plays Charles, a poet, opposite the mysterious and sheltered Ella of Grové (Sunday in the Park With George, Goodspeed's The Boyfriend, Thoroughly Modern Millie).

This live version of the 1966 musical-for-television is part of the St. George's Society of New York's Anglo-American Cultural Awards Oct. 25 in Manhattan.

Read's recent interview with Paul Bogart, the director of the original TV production.

The production is being billed as the first live staging of Evening Primrose in North America. Expect a script-in-hand, semi-staged production, producer Margot Astrachan told

The hourlong musical at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College will also feature Candice Bergen ("Murphy Brown") as Mrs. Monday; plus John McMartin (Follies); Bill Duell (1776); John Cunningham (Company); and dance legends Carmen de Lavallade (House of Flowers), Frederic Franklin and Sondra Lee (Peter Pan, Hello, Dolly!). Of the lead actress, Walton said, "She was — joyously — Sean Palmer's Polly Browne throughout the Goodspeed Opera House run and the international tour of Julie Andrews' production of The Boy Friend. And they have worked together — quite gloriously — in Coward's 'Conversation Piece,' an incredibly demanding score."

The gala benefit celebration of the Anglo-American Cultural Awards of the St. George's Society will recognize the contributions — "to U.S.-U.K. society" — of Academy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Walton, and Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey.

Angela Lansbury (Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and the recent A Little Night Music) will present Walton's award at the dinner that follows the performance.

Evening Primrose, based on a story by John Collier, concerns a poet who hides in a department store at night, falling in love with Ella, a frightened girl in the power of a secret community that dwells there. The score offers one of Sondheim's most famous songs, "I Remember," plus "Take Me to the World," as well as "If You Can Find Me, I'm Here" and "When."

The production team includes orchestrator Sean Patrick Flahaven, music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Sondheim's recent Company on Broadway), sound designer Bernard Fox, lighting designer Richard Pilbrow (The Life, Show Boat).

Following the presentation of Evening Primrose, there will be a gala dinner in the top of Hearst Tower featuring the talents of Alan Cumming and Jim Dale. A grant will be made to Young Playwrights Inc., the charity founded by composer-lyricist Sondheim.

Walton and Bailey will also present grants from the St. George's Society to Tony Award winner Christine Jones (Spring Awakening and American Idiot) and writer Alfie Barrett — chosen by Walton and Bailey as up-and-coming talents in their fields.

The evening will be attended by Alec Baldwin, Tommy Tune, Alan Cumming, Jim Dale and other theatre and fashion-world people.

Tickets for Evening Primrose range from $275 (theatre only) to $750 (includes the show, gala dinner/cabaret) and can be purchased at or by calling (212) 682-6110.


Founded in 1770 in New York, the St. George's Society of New York's non-sectarian mission is to help people of British and Commonwealth origin living in the New York City area. Along with its beneficiaries program, and scholarship program, the Society will extend its continuing cultural program to present grants to young people in the Arts. Visit


The day after the staged reading, as previously reported, E1 Entertainment will release a DVD of the 1966 television special "Evening Primrose."The 50-minute, black-and-white DVD is scheduled for an Oct. 26 release.

"Evening Primrose" originally aired as part of the ABC Stage 67 television series. Paul Bogart directed a cast that included Anthony Perkins, Dorothy Stickney, Larry Gates and Charmian Carr.

"Unable to cope with the pressures of the outside world," press notes state, "a poet hides inside a locked department store. But as night falls, he discovers a group of hermits who’ve been living there for years. Among them is Ella, a frightened girl who desperately wants to leave."

Track listing for the previously released "Evening Primrose" soundtrack follows:

"If You Can Find Me, I'm Here"
"Meeting the Others"
"You're One of Us"/"Charles and Ella"
"Charles' Schedule"/"If You Can Find Me, I'm Here" (reprise)
"Looking for Ella"
"I Remember"
"Charles Touched Me"
"Take Me to the World"
"The First Dance"
"The Security Guard"/"The Second Dance"
"Another Dance"
"The Dark Men Come"/"Take Me to the World" (Reprise)

Sean Palmer, Jessica Grové and Tony Walton
Sean Palmer, Jessica Grové and Tony Walton
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