A clutch of Chicago veterans will be among performers trying to recreate the heyday of the lavish Broadway revue, when "Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert" presents its concert revival of Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 March 25-29 at City Center.
Karen Ziemba, Ruthie Henshall and Stephanie Pope, who have all portrayed merry murderesses in the Chicago revival, will sing and dance a score by Ira Gershwin (lyrics) and Vernon Duke (music).
Director-adaptor Mark Waldrop's cast for Ziegfeld, a little-known show to contemporary audiences, also includes Christine Ebersole (revivals of Oklahoma!, On Your Toes), Howard McGillin (Anything Goes), Mary Testa (On the Town), Peter Scolari (TV's "Bosom Buddies," "Newhart"), Bob Walton, Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along), Stanley Bojarski, Jock Soto, Jenifer Ringer and Jonathan Sharp.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 featured music by Duke and lyrics and sketches by Gershwin and served up a song that had a life beyond the show: "I Can't Get Started." Sets and costumes were by Vincente Minnelli. It marked the Broadway debut of choreographer George Balanchine (his On Your Toes came later that year), and originally starred Josephine Baker, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Judy Canova, Eve Arden and others.
Sketches are by David Freedman and Gershwin. Rob Fisher is music director. The 6 PM March 29 show, when best seats are available, is the annual City Center gala benefit. Show-only tickets are available.
Call (212) 581-1212 for information.
The "Encores!" season began Feb. 11-14 with a highly-praised staging of Babes in Arms and continues May 6-9 with the Jule Styne-Betty Comden-Adolph Green musical, Do Re Mi.
The popular series at City Center in New York City revisits neglected or seldom-revived musical theatre scores and scripts in a conceptual concert form, often with big-name stage talent. The current Broadway revival of Chicago began as an "Encores!" presentation. The 1997 slate included Strike Up the Band, Li'l Abner and Vanessa Williams in St. Louis Woman.
Do Re Mi from 1960 introduced "Make Someone Happy" to the world, sung by John Reardon and Nancy Dussault, who played sub-plot lovers in the show business satire (about the record industry). Stars Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker played a low-rung showbiz schlemiel and his long suffering wife.
Also in the score are "It's Legitimate," "I Know About Love," "Fireworks" and "Adventure," a tour-de-force for Walker. In one number, a classic Comden-Green nightclub scene, Dussault was dressed as an animal, singing, "What's New At the Zoo."
-- By Kenneth Jones