Bandwagon, the New York troupe that has staged showcases of American musical theatre material since 1981 (it was founded in 1979), presents the new show for twelve performances Oct. 9-19 at the Wings Theatre on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.
Jerry Bell, founding producer of Bandwagon of Vintage Musicals, Inc., directs and co-choreographs 34 songs, which are obscure even to the most rabid musical theatre fan.
Expect such song titles as "A Waltz Was Born in Vienna," "May I Suggest Romance?," "Why Can't This Night Last Forever?," "To Whom It May Concern," "Night Can Be Blind" and "There Had to be the Waltz."
Eddie Guttman is musical director. Heather Rosario co choreographs.
Bell told Playbill On-Line The Magic of Frederick Loewe will have a throughline of commentary about the Berlin-born, American-raised composer and about the four obscure shows addressed in the evening — Salute to Spring (1937, with lyrics by Earle Crooker), Great Lady (1938, with lyrics by Crooker), Life of the Party (1942, lyrics by Crooker and Alan Jay Lerner) and What's Up? (1943, the first full collaboration between Lerner and Loewe). Songs from various other projects — Petticoat Fever and The Illustrators' Show — will also be heard in The Magic of Frederick Loewe.
Bell said the show will be fully staged and costumed, and Loewe fans will hear a condensed version of the entire score of Great Lady, a rarity, Bell said.
The revue will also include two of the earliest known songs by Lerner and Loewe: "Here We Go Again" and "Life of the Party." The pair's best-known shows are My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon and Gigi (which was an Oscar-winning film before it was a stage property). They also wrote scores for The Day Before Spring (1945) and the film, "The Little Prince."
Loewe died in 1988, at the age of 83, in Palm Springs, CA.
Bell said the idea for the revue came when a contact at the Library of Congress called him and said a cache of Loewe material had been acquired by the library. That was music to Bell's ears, as his company is dedicated to vintage musicals that have little profile today.
Bell, who was once a dancer in touring musical shows, said he's more likely to present Florodora (1899) than another revival of the better-known Anything Goes or Girl Crazy.
"We're always hoping there's interest in moving to Off-Broadway," Bell said, adding that none of his showcases (about one every two years) has snagged a producer or a commercial move.
Bandwagon presented an earlier version of this show in May 2002, under the title The Lost Music of Frederick Loewe. That show, presented with assistance from the Frederick Loewe Foundation, was a benefit for the shoestring Bandwagon company.
Tickets are $15 and will go on sale in September. Wings Theatre is at 154 Christopher Street. For ticket information, call Dance Theatre Workshop, which is providing the reservation service, at (212) 924-0077.