The Windy City run of the musical biography of entertainer Kaye (1913-1987) officially opens June 7 and continues to Aug. 24 "before making its way to New York City in the spring of 2009," according to the producers.
This new run follows a sold-out, twice-extended run at Los Angeles' El Portal Theatre. The Kid From Brooklyn now holds the record for the longest-running, highest-grossing show on the mainstage of the El Portal.
Directed by Peter J. Loewy, with book by Mark Childers and Peter J. Loewy, and musical direction by Charlie Harrison and David Cohen, The Kid From Brooklyn stars Helen Hayes Award winner Brian Childers as Danny Kaye and Karin Leone as Sylvia Fine, with Christina Purcell and Adam Lebow.
The score is comprised of songs Kaye helped make famous — and helped make him famous.
The show was first produced at the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Ft. Lauderdale by Loewy/Leone Productions. According to the producers, "Based on the turbulent and triumphant life of Danny Kaye, this intimate musical portrayal chronicles Kaye's career and his relationships on and off the stage as we follow the rise of Danny Kaye from an undisciplined improvisational comic to his success under the guidance of his wife, Sylvia Fine. An amazingly versatile pair of supporting players appears and disappears throughout the performance creating distinct and believable portrayals of a myriad of luminaries who are interwoven with Kaye and Fine: Eve Arden (with whom Kaye was both professionally and romantically linked from the time they first paired on Broadway), Samuel Goldwyn, Kitty Carlisle, Cole Porter, Vivien Leigh, Billy Rose, Laurence Olivier, and handfuls of other fascinating characters."
A live four-piece ensemble drives such songs as "Tchaikovsky," "By Jingo," "Minnie the Moocher" and "Inchworm," among others. The Kid From Brooklyn features the work of songwriters Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, Sylvia Fine, Rodgers & Hart, Frank Loesser and Cole Porter and more.
Kaye's credits include the films "The Court Jester," "Hans Christian Andersen," "White Christmas," "The Kid From Brooklyn," "The Inspector General" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," among others, and the stage musicals Lady in the Dark and Two By Two, among others. He was born David Daniel Kaminsky, the son of an immigrant Ukrainian tailor. According to production notes, "After having dropped out of school in his teens, he got early experience as a comedian on the Borscht circuit of summer hotels and camps in the Catskills. With the help of his wife, composer-lyricist Sylvia Fine Kaye, who provided much of his musical material, he continued to gain prominence. She wrote many of the songs and gags that brought him to the attention of Samuel Goldwyn in 1944."
He was a sensation in England, performing his concert act before the Royal Family.
As a humanitarian, he was an ambassador for UNICEF. He was so identified with the United Nations agency that when UNICEF received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, Kaye was selected to accept it.
Actor Childers received the 2002 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical and the Mary Goldwater Award for his performance as Danny Kaye in Danny and Sylvia: A Musical Love Story.
Prior to spending the last 18 months touring the country in The Kid From Brooklyn, Childers starred in the title role in the national tour of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Ken Ludwig.
Peter J. Loewy was the founder and has been the producing artistic director of the Forum Theatre Company in central New Jersey for the last 25 years, during which time he has produced and directed over 90 plays and musicals. Peter and wife Karin Leone founded Loewy/Leone Productions and have also produced Beyond the Rainbow and George M. Cohan Tonight.
The creative team also include Susie Paplow (choreographer), Shon LeBlanc (costume designer) and Larry Basso (set design).
The Mercury Theater is located at 3745 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago. The performance schedule for The Kid From Brooklyn is Wednesdays at 2 PM, Thursdays at 8 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM.
For tickets call (773) 325-1700 or visit www.thekidfrombrooklynmusical.com. For discounted tickets for groups of ten or more, call Group Theater Tix at (312) 423-6612 or visit www.grouptheatertix.com.