"Glitter and Be Gay": Chenoweth and LuPone Co-Star in Candide Concerts, May 5-8

News   "Glitter and Be Gay": Chenoweth and LuPone Co-Star in Candide Concerts, May 5-8
The New York Philharmonic's concert staging of Leonard Bernstein's Candide begins performances May 5.
Patti LuPone (top) and Kristin Chenoweth (bottom)
Patti LuPone (top) and Kristin Chenoweth (bottom)

The musical, which will play a limited engagement through May 8, stars Tony Award winners Kristin Chenoweth and Patti LuPone as, respectively, Cunegonde and The Old Lady. They are joined by tenor Paul Groves in the title role, tenor Stanford Olsen as Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski and baritone Sir Thomas Allen as Pangloss/Martin. The concerts, helmed by Lonny Price, also feature the Westminster Symphonic Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt. Marin Alsop conducts the Philharmonic.

The cast also features Michael McCormick (Baron/Inquisitor/Don Issachar/Cacambo), Gina Ferrall (Baroness/Sheep), Janine LaManna (Paquette), Jeff Blumenkrantz (Maximillian), Michael McElroy (Judge/Captain/Crook), John Herrera (Judge/Aide/Prefect/Governor), Ray Wills (Heresy Agent/Archbishop/Priest) and Patty Goble (Sheep). Song titles include "Life Is Happiness Indeed," "The Best of All Possible Worlds," "Oh, Happy We," "It Must Be So," "Dear Boy," "Auto-da-fé," "Glitter and Be Gay," "You Were Dead, You Know," "I Am Easily Assimilated," "My Love," "We Are Women," "Alleluia," "Quiet," "Bon Voyage," "What's the Use?" and "Make Our Garden Grow."

Jim Noone has provided the stage design with costumes by Tracy Christensen, lighting by Kevin Adams, sound by Tom Clark, choreography by Casey Nickalaw and combat direction by Rick Sordelet.

About his two Broadway stars, director Price said in a statement, "I've always wanted to work with Kristin, and this is a perfect part for her: she's really got that coloratura. And she can be funny. The keynote of this piece is light and funny. . . If the role and the star fit that well, then a lot of my work is done, because then I can build the production around what they can do. . . . Patti and I, this will be our seventh show together; we have quite a longstanding partnership. She is really terrific. I tend to try and do more than maybe I'm supposed to and so does Patti. On the first day of rehearsal she says 'I'll be off book'; she raises the bar. Then I raise it a little, she raises it, we both raise it and keep raising it, and think, 'It'll kill people off or they'll come along with us.'"

Based on Voltaire's novel, Candide premiered on Broadway in 1956 at the Martin Beck Theatre. Although it boasted music by Leonard Bernstein, a book by Lillian Hellman and additional lyrics by John La Touche, Dorothy Parker and Richard Wilbur, the musical ran a brief 73 performances. The 1997 revival at the Gershwin Theatre featured a cast led by Jim Dale, Andrea Martin, Jason Danieley and Harolyn Blackwell. Kristin Chenoweth made her New York theatrical debut opposite Bill Irwin in a production of Molière's Scapin and followed that with a role in Kander and Ebb's Steel Pier. Roles in Off-Broadway's A New Brain and the City Center Encores! productions of Strike Up the Band and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever ensued. She won her Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and also starred in her own, short-lived TV series "Kristin." Chenoweth's other TV appearances include roles in "Frasier" and ABC's television adaptation of the musical Annie. She was also featured in the TV production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man.

A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, Patti LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Lés Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Also a star of television and film, her screen credits boast "Life Goes On," "Frasier," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Witness," "The Water Engine," "State and Main" and "Monday Night Mayhem."

Candide will be performed May 5 and 6 at 7:30 PM and May 7 and May 8 at 8 PM at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Single tickets, priced $50 $150, are available by calling (212) 875-5656. For more information about the New York Philharmonic, visit www.newyorkphilharmonic.org.

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