Broadway Oklahoma! director Daniel Fish is back to reimagining Golden Age musicals with Most Happy in Concert, a new take on Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella at Massachusetts' Williamstown Theatre Festival. The run begins July 13 on the Williamstown Main Stage and will continue through July 31.
Starring are Tony nominee Mary Testa, Tina Fabrique, Maya Lagerstam, Erin Markey, April Matthis, Mallory Portnoy, and Kiena Williams. Gwynne Wood rounds out the company as the understudy.
The production reunites Fish, who conceived and directs the production, with his Tony-nominated Oklahoma! orchestrator Daniel Kluger, who orchestrates and provides music arrangements with Nathan Koci. The creative team also includes choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, music director Sean Forte, scenic designer Amy Rubin, costume designer Terese Wadden, hair and makeup designer Anika Seitu, lighting designer Thomas Dunn, and sound designer Drew Levy. Fish and Koci have provided vocal arrangements, with Cyd Cahill stage managing and casting by Taylor Williams. Rubin's scenic design is based on previous work by Andrew Lieberman and Rubin.
Fish's production of the 1956 musical trades Loesser's original, somewhat operatic arrangements for a jazzier take, now performed by 12 musicians and a cast of seven female-identifying actors. The production's new orchestrations premiered last summer with a concert presentation at Bard SummerScape, which also featured Testa, Fabrique, Markey, Matthis, and Portnoy in the cast.
Fish similarly reimagined Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1943 musical Oklahoma! with a 2019 Tony-winning revival that struck an unusually naturalistic tone for the piece, along with a new orchestration designed to sound like a pot luck band.
The Most Happy Fella, based on Sidney Howard's 1924 play They Knew What They Wanted, centers on a young waitress in San Francisco who travels to Napa after a romantic exchange of letters that leaves her engaged to wed an older grape farmer. The work has gone on to be revived on Broadway and at opera houses around the world.
For tickets and more information, visit WTFestival.org.