Charles Nelson Reilly and The Music Man's Ruth Williamson will Strike Up the Band Feb. 21-March 4 in the final installment of the Los Angeles Reprise! musical concert series this season. Don Amendolia directs the 1927 Gershwin musical, presented with a concert book by David Ives (All in the Timing).
Reilly, a staple on TV's "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares," made his Broadway debut as Mr. Henkle in Bye, Bye, Birdie, was nominated for a Tony as the original Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly!, and received a Tony for his performance as Bud Frump How To Succeed In Business.... His first directing assignment was The Belle Of Amherst, starring Julie Harris. Other Broadway directing credits include Paul Robeson with James Earl Jones, Break a Leg and The Nerd.
Joining Reilly and Williamson are Melissa Dye, Troy Britton Johnson, Joe Joyce, Hope Levy, Michael Maguire (Les Miserables), Stuart Pankin (TV's "Not Necessarily the News"), Steven Vinovich and Kenneth Mars ("The Producers," "Shadows and Fog").
George S. Kaufman (You Can't Take It With You, The Man Who Came to Dinner) and George and Ira Gershwin's Strike Up the Band is a satire on American warmongering. A cheese tariff by the Swiss, which sparks an especially sharp response by American Cheese Company owner Horace J. Fletcher, sends the U.S. into battle over congealed milk products. The score features the Gershwin hits "Strike Up the Band," "The Man I Love," "Soon" and "I've Got a Crush on You."
Tickets are $55. The Freud Playhouse is located in UCLA's Macgowan Hall. Call (310) 825-2101 or Ticketmaster Fine Arts Line for information. *
The Nov., 2000 Reprise! edition of Mack and Mabel, which starred The Scarlet Pimpernel's Douglas Sills and "Ally McBeal"'s Jane Krakowski in the title roles, has been named as a spring, 2001 Broadway possibility, although chances are looking less likely. The highly praised revival featured a revised book by Francine Pascal, sister of original librettist Michael Stewart, but preserved the Jerry Herman score.
— By Christine Ehren