Cast Announced for Musicals Tonight! Concert of The High Life, Formerly The Gay Life

News   Cast Announced for Musicals Tonight! Concert of The High Life, Formerly The Gay Life
Jenni Barber will play Liesl in the Musicals Tonight! concert staging of The High Life, the Howard Dietz-Arthur Schwartz show known as The Gay Life when presented on Broadway in 1961.

Presumably because "gay" back then was different from "gay" today, the rights holders renamed the property for its licensing life. The show is a melody-rich retelling of Arthur Schnitzler's Anatol. The piano-and-voice run at the 99-seat 45th Street Theatre plays Oct. 18-30 in Manhattan.

The role of Liesl would have been career-making had Barbara Cook (its original star) not already played such career-making roles as Marian in The Music Man and Cunegonde in Candide.

The High Life will be the 32nd revival in concert company's salute to classic American Musical Theatre. Mel Miller is the artistic director of Musicals Tonight!

The Gay Life, which opened on Broadway Nov. 18, 1961, originally starred Barbara Cook, Walter Chiari, Jules Munchin and Elizabeth Allen. The music is by Arthur Schwartz and the lyrics are by Howard Dietz. The libretto (based on the Schnitzler) is by Michael and Fay Kanin.

This musical comedy takes place in the Vienna of 1904 where determined bachelor (played now by Paul Green) Anatol had, with the aid of his best friend Max (Doug Shapiro) and valet Franz (Roger Rifkin) successfully avoided the feminine charms of three of the most alluring women in Vienna (all played by Barbara McCulloh). He ultimately succumbs to the charms of Max's enchanting sister Liesl (Jenni Barber). Leisl's parents are played by Deborah Jean Templin and Dennis Holland. The score includes "I'm Glad I’m Single," "Magic Moment," "I'm Ready for a Frau," "The Label on the Bottle," "Who Can? You Can!," "Bloom Is Off the Rose," "Something You've Never Had Before" and more.

Thomas Mills will direct. Music director is James Stenborg.

The 45th Street Theatre is at 354 W. 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Performances play Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 PM, with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday Sun at 2:30 PM.

Tickets are $19 and available fro Smarttix at (212) 868-4444 or

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