Racey, Blackhurst Will Test Revision of Kay Swift Musical Fine and Dandy in Reading

News   Racey, Blackhurst Will Test Revision of Kay Swift Musical Fine and Dandy in Reading
Kay Swift's 1930 Broadway musical Fine and Dandy — the same show that got a sparkling new studio recording by PS Classics in 2004 — will resurface in a May 8 Manhattan reading that features a new libretto, Playbill.com has learned.

After the success of the recording, the Kay Swift Trust commissioned a new script for the show from writer-performer Jimmy Bennett (Off-Broadway's The Nuclear Family). The hope is a future commercial life for the renewed property. The original script was weighted with vaudeville specialty material that star Joe Cook brought with him; the shtick has been weeded out.

The musical comedy, which offers such tunes as "Can This Be Love?," "Fine and Dandy," "Nobody Breaks My Heart," "Starting at the Bottom," "Rich or Poor" and more, had a score by Swift (linked romantically and professionally to George Gershwin), lyrics by Paul James and book by Donald Ogden Stewart. It played 255 performances at the Erlanger Theatre.

The history books refer to Swift as the first woman composer to pen a Broadway musical hit. This is the third recent reading for the developing show. Several Swift songs not related to the original production have been interpolated, including tunes Swift wrote with lyricist Al Stillman for Radio City Music Hall shows.

Lainie Munro directs the invitation-only reading, with music direction and arrangements by Aaron Gandy, artistic advisor to the Kay Swift Trust.

The cast includes Noah Racey (Curtains, Never Gonna Dance), Debora Leamy (Never Gonna Dance, Fosse), Klea Blackhurst (Bingo, Everything the Traffic Will Allow), John Deyle (Urinetown, Footloose), with Enders Groff, John Gregorio, Mitch McCarrell, Jennifer Blood, Carlos Lopez, Scott Gofta, Peter Maris, Chris Vaughn, Lucy Sorrensen, Liz Griffin, Beth Johnson and Jennifer Swiderski. "Set in a shoe factory on the brink of the Great Depression, Fine and Dandy follows the antics of employee Joe Squibb as he saves Fordyce Feet from demise," according to production notes. "Can Joe re-invent the factory by feminizing its product line, even if it means losing his long-time girl? One part Marx Brothers, one part dance extravaganza, and one part effervescent 1930s-style musical comedy, Fine and Dandy brings back to life this tuneful score by the legendary Kay Swift, the first woman to compose a hit Broadway show."

The 2004 CD can be found on PS Classics' site by clicking here.

For more information about Kay Swift, visit www.kayswift.com or e-mail aarongandy@gmail.com.

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