Signature's Kander & Ebb Fest to Welcome Jacoby, Minarik, Margulies, Dvorsky | Playbill

News Signature's Kander & Ebb Fest to Welcome Jacoby, Minarik, Margulies, Dvorsky
Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, has snagged Tony Award nominee Mark Jacoby to play the Mayor in director Frank Galati's production of The Visit, and George Dvorsky, David Margulies and Michael Minarik to star in director Michael Unger's production of The Happy Time.
Mark Jacoby
Mark Jacoby Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Newcomer Jace Casey will play the choice role of Bibi, the godson/nephew in The Happy Time. The role won Michael Rupert (then called Mike Rupert) a Tony Award nomination in 1968. Tracy Lynn Olivera will play Suzanne in The Happy Time.

Both shows, along with Kiss of the Spider Woman, are part of Signature's Kander and Ebb Celebration, celebrating the work of composer John Kander and the late lyricist Fred Ebb, running March-June.

In The Happy Time, a lesser-known 1968 musical based on the Samuel Taylor play of the same name, a worldly photographer, Jacques, returns to his French Canadian hometown and reunites with family — and an old flame. Robert Goulet created the role, winning a Tony. At Signature, Minarik (of Broadway's recent Les Miserables) will play Jacques, with Dvorsky (Broadway's The Scarlet Pimpernel, New York City Opera's Brigadoon) as Philippe and Margulies (Broadway's Wonderful Town, 45 Seconds from Broadway, A Thousand Clowns, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika) as frisky Grandpere.

Performances play April 1-June 1 in Signature's 110-seat Ark space (the smaller venue allows for a longer run).

The Happy Time, which has a libretto by The Rainmaker playwright N. Richard Nash, was originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1968, in a production directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. Jacoby (Broadway's recent Sweeney Todd and Show Boat) will join two-time Tony Award-winning stars Chita Rivera (The Rink, Chicago, West Side Story) and George Hearn (both previously announced) in The Visit. The show features a book by Terrence McNally, based on the classic play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, in a production directed by Galati and choreographed by Ann Reinking. The Visit will play May 13-June 22 in Signature's Max space.

The musical played Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 2001-02, and the creators hoped it would come to New York, but that has not happened. This staging would seem to be the next step toward a wider life (the Chicago director, choreographer and leading lady, plus Jacoby, are all holdovers).

In The Visit, "Claire Zachanassian (Rivera) was driven from her hometown in disgrace when she was 17, having been betrayed by her lover," according to Signature. "Several decades and seven husbands later, Zachanassian has become the richest woman in the world, yet her hometown has fallen on hard times. When Zachanassian returns with an offer to save the town, salvation comes with an outrageous price tag." Hearn (Broadway's Sunset Blvd., La Cage aux Folles) plays her ex; Jacoby re-creates his Chicago role as the Mayor.

Signature's Kander & Ebb Celebration also features the Tony-Award winning Kiss of the Spider Woman starring the previously announced Will Chase, Natascia Diaz and Hunter Foster (March 11-April 20), in a production directed by Signature artistic director Eric Schaeffer.

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