Pins and Needles, Singing With Social Significance, Gets March Concert in NYC

News   Pins and Needles, Singing With Social Significance, Gets March Concert in NYC
Songwriter Harold Rome's topical Depression-era revue, Pins and Needles, will get a concert revival by Jewish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan, March 27, 30 and 31, JRT artistic director Ran Avni told Playbill On-Line.

Gary John LaRosa will direct the show, which ran 1,108 performances beginning in 1937. The work was first presented by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, with "the ILGWU Players" at the Labor Stage (formerly the Princess Theatre). It later moved to the Windsor Theatre. Off-Broadway's Roundabout Theatre Company revived the show in 1967.

According to Steven Suskin's book, "Show Tunes," the work was created because ILGWU entertainment director Louis Schaefer "was looking for an extracurricular morale building activity." Performers were drafted from the work force. Rome was known up to that point only as a songwriter for the upstate mountain resort known as Green Mansions. This show launched his musical theatre career. He died in New York in 1993.

An album of songs from Pins and Needles was recorded decades after it was a hit, with Rome heard on the record, and newcomer Barbra Streisand singing "Nobody Makes a Pass at Me," among other songs. The score includes "Chain Store Daisy," "Mene, Mene, Tekel," "Sing Me a Song With Social Significance," "Sunday in the Park," "Not Cricket to Picket," "One Big Union for Two," "It's Better With a Union Man," and more.

Composer-lyricist Rome would go on to write scores for such musicals as Wish You Were Here, Fanny, Call Me Mister, Destry Rides Again and I Can Get It For You Wholesale. The JRT Pins and Needles will be musical directed by Nathan Hurwitz. No casting has been announced.

Avni said JRT is still looking for a permanent home, and the funding that will keep them there. JRT's 30th anniversary is in October 2003, and Avni is hoping to stage the first full-scale production in many months at that time. JRT Pins and Needles performances are 8 PM March 27, 3 and 7 PM March 30 and 2 PM March 31 at the Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th Street. All tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling (917) 606-8200.

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