Philly's Prince Will Premiere Klezmer Musical, a New '50s Rock Musical and a Refurbished Jamaica in 2007-08

News   Philly's Prince Will Premiere Klezmer Musical, a New '50s Rock Musical and a Refurbished Jamaica in 2007-08
Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia will open its 2007-08 season with a new Klezmer-driven musical version of Yiddish playwright I.L. Peretz's A Night in the Old Marketplace, the resident company announced.

The upcoming season of the resident troupe devoted exclusively to musicals will also include Ain't Misbehavin'; a restoration of the Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's musical satire Jamaica; a new 1950s-set world premiere musical, Dollface penned by a member of The Hooters; and the holiday pop-rock musical, Striking 12, by Rachel Sheinkin, Valeria Vigoda and Brendan Milburn.

A Night in the Old Marketplace is by composer Frank London and lyricist Glen Berger. Marketplace (Sept. 28-Oct. 21, opening Oct. 6) "spins a magical tale of men who wrestle with ghosts, in order to right a past wrong, in a fantastic journey, to rediscover the meaning of faith."

The production was conceived and will be directed by Alexandra Aron. Music is by Grammy Award-winning composer London (of The Klezmatics), with book and lyrics by Berger.

Music direction will be by Eric Barnes (of Prince's Annie Get Your Gun).

Here's a look at the 2007-08 Prince season:

  • Ain't Misbehavin' (Dec. 4-31), music by Thomas "Fats" Waller, based on an idea by Richard Maltby Jr. & Murray Horwitz. Richard M. Parison, Jr. will direct the hit revue of songs by Fats Waller, evoking the age of the Cotton Club and Harlem Renaissance.
  • Striking 12 (Dec. 7-31), book, music and lyrics by Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin. The Off-Broadway and regional favorite about a "grouchy, cynical guy who needs to be rescued, and the rescuer is the beautiful princess, carrying light bulbs —that cure Seasonal Affective Disorder." The modern pop take on "The Little Match Girl" is considered a totally hip way celebrate the holidays. The show will play the 120-seat Independence Foundation Black Box, where it had a developmental production in 2003. Richard M. Parison, Jr., will direct.
  • Dollface (Feb. 1-24, 2008), music by David Forman with Rob Hyman, Johnny Gale, Rick Chertoff, Eric Bazilian, Lou Bellofatto, B.J. Sebring and Bette Midler, written and conceived by B.J. Sebring. Billed as "the first musical by the Hooters' Rob Hyman and New Jersey's Little Isidore/David Forman," it's "packed with tunes that are the 'essence of 1956,' when the rock still had plenty of roll, sex was juicy and illicit, and the women wanted to be more than housewives. Dollface is a babe with immodest aspirations. She wants to be a television comedienne but she only knows one joke. She can't just settle down with the boy next door — the glamour and guilty pleasures of Club Rub a Dub Dub are calling."
  • Jamaica (May 30-June 22, 2008), music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy. "This 1957 Broadway hit is newly re-imagined with its original anti-consumerist, anti-war comic bite and storyline restored. An amazing Harold Arlen score freshly orchestrated to combine the hot tang of steel drums and Caribbean nights with the cool jazz of Broadway." The Prince will be the first theatre ever to restore the original script and music by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg and a book by Harburg and Fred Saidy. The tale is set in a Jamaican fishing village, and "tells the story of a fisherman and his girlfriend who long to get away and live the high life in New York." According to the Prince, "Originally, it was to be an anti-materialism tale that used calypso songs to satirize the commercialism of '50s America. But, the book was stripped and it became a revue."

    Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban starred in the original; it was written with Harry Belafonte in mind. "Cocoanut Sweet" and "Push de Button" are two of its better-known songs.

    Upstairs in the Independence Foundation Black Box, the Morgans Cabaret series will feature Billy Stritch (Sept. 26-Oct. 7), Mark Nadler (Oct. 30-Nov. 11), Anna Bergman (Feb. 13-24) and Marilyn Maye (June 4-15).

    Subscriptions and groups are currently on sale at the box office or by calling Upstages on (215) 569-9700. For more information, visit

    The Prince Music Theater is located at 1412 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

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