LOS ANGELES -- Betty Garrett and Michael Feinstein are set to star in a concert version of Happy Lot!, a "rediscovered" musical by composer Hugh Martin and lyricist Marshall Barer that was originally written for Jeannette MacDonald and the then 17-year-old Liza Minnelli.
The limited engagement begins Feb. 21 at Theatre West and is scheduled for four performances only as a benefit for the theatre.
Feinstein is scheduled to perform at the first two performances only. He has already recorded three songs from the show.
Happy Lot! was inspired by a showbiz legend about a troupe of Hollywood dropouts who were secretly in residence on the MGM lot, hiding by day and emerging at night to enjoy the glamorous trappings of studio life.
Plans for a Broadway musical based on the story were in place when MacDonald became ill; she died before the show could be mounted and the project was eventually abandoned. Martin's credits include Meet Me in St. Louis and Best Foot Forward. Barer, who celebrates his 75th birthday the week of the opening, is best known as the librettist of Once Upon A Mattress and Pousse-Cafe, the latter of which he co-wrote with Duke Ellington.
Garrett, an MGM and Broadway star, has just published her autobiography, "Betty Garrett and Other Songs." She was the wisecracking tough gal who chased Frank Sinatra around New York City so memorably in the 1949 film version of On the Town. The 78-year old actress/singer/dancer has maintained a career in film, TV and theatre for nearly 50 years.
Dancers may remember Garrett as a principal dancer in Martha Graham's company. Musical theatre lovers may think of her fondly on Broadway in roles such as Mary Francis in Something For the Boys, the replacement Ella Peterson in Bells are Ringing, and more recently on Broadway in Martin's Meet Me in St. Louis, in which she played a fiery Irish maid who did a jig on a table.
Cinema fans will recall her many other film appearances in features like My Sister Eileen (the basis for Wonderful Town) and Neptune's Daughter; and her countless TV appearances can still be seen on re-runs of "All in the Family and "Laverne and Shirley," to name a few.
Feinstein rose from the cabaret circuit to become a much-recorded interperter -- and preserver -- of songs by Berlin, Arlen, the Gershwins and others. (He'll appear in only the first two of the four concert performances of Happy Lot.)
Others in the cast include Amber McAfee-Maggart (who is Barer's daughter), Melissa Converse, Ronny Graham, Kevin McMahon and Brandon Maggart.
Theatre West is at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W. Performances through March 1 are Sat. at 4 PM and Sun. at 7 PM. For tickets, $20, call (213) 851-7977.