Williamson Will Star in Kay Thompson Bio Musical Pure Heaven in Westchester in 2008

News   Williamson Will Star in Kay Thompson Bio Musical Pure Heaven in Westchester in 2008
Michael Bush's first season as artistic director of The Emelin Theatre, a non-profit performing arts center in Mamaroneck, NY, will include the spring 2008 world premiere of Pure Heaven, a new musical about entertainer-author Kay Thompson.
Ruth Williamson
Ruth Williamson

Broadway actress Ruth Williamson (revivals of The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, La Cage aux Folles) has been developing the show about the bigger-than-life singer-actress-vocal coach (seen in the film, "Funny Face") for several years. Thompson also wrote the popular "Eloise" children's books.

Williamson will play the late scat-singing, statuesque, mannish Thompson (who was a vocal coach to M-G-M stars, including Judy Garland).

The Emelin Theatre season will also feature a fall "Theatre in Concert Festival" to feature intimate cabaret-style works, some of which were seen in the summer 2007 Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret & Performance Conference (artistic-directed by Bush), plus a 2008 full staging of Jeffrey Hatcher's regionally-popular dark comedy Murderers, about unlikely killers in a Florida retirement community.

Murderers and Pure Heaven (production dates to be announced) will be the first Emelin productions directed by Michael Bush, who worked for 25 years at Manhattan Theatre Club, where he helped produce and develop more than 150 new plays and musicals.

"The fall 'Theatre in Concert Festival,' Murderers and Pure Heaven reflect my goal to expand and enrich the Emelin's existing programming while maintaining the sense of intimacy and community that the Emelin represents," Bush said in a statement. The fall "Theatre in Concert Festival" will consist of eight different shows over 21 days, beginning Nov. 17 with Everyone Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar and culminating Dec. 6 with the Emelin's Broadway Holiday Cabaret, a one-night gala performance featuring the stars and artists from the entire festival.

The Emelin's fall "Theatre in Concert Festival" lineup follows:

  • Everyone Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar (Nov. 17 at 8 PM, Nov. 18 at 2 PM). Starring Jeremy Lawrence as Tennessee Williams in a performance drawn from interviews with Williams and his memoirs.
  • Try to Remember: A Look Back at Off-Broadway (Nov. 18 at 8 PM, Nov. 28 at 8 PM). Starring Rita Gardner — who is best known for originating the role of "The Girl" in the longest-running musical of all time, The Fantasticks — this acclaimed evening celebrates the musical legacy of the off-Broadway theatre.
  • An Evening With Penny Fuller (Nov. 23 at 8 PM, Nov. 25 at 2 PM). Starring Broadway star and Emmy Award winner Penny Fuller in a classic musical performance celebrating the songs of composers that she has known during her theatre career.
  • Politics and Poker and Familiar Love, A Double Bill with Two Acts (Nov. 24 at 8 PM and Nov. 25 at 5 PM. Politics and Poker stars Joel Silberman, Manhattan Association of Cabaret (MAC) Award-winning singer and pianist, in a personal performance describing his musical journey from Leonard Bernstein's protégé to his latest role as a political consultant in Washington. Familiar Love stars Tony Award winner Gretha Boston in a special musical performance that celebrates her love of family, music and theatre.
  • The Kleinbort Collection: The Songs of Barry Kleinbort (Nov. 29 at 8 PM and Nov. 30 at 8 PM). Narrated by composer-director Barry Kleinbort, winner of the Edward Kleban Foundation Award, the Gilman-Gonzales Musical Theatre Commendation Award and ten Manhattan Associate of Cabaret (MAC) Awards, this musical revue of his theatre songs features a cast of eight including Penny Fuller, Rita Gardner and Kleinbort himself.
  • A Tribute to the Bluebird Cafe: The Sounds of Nashville (Dec. 1 at 8 PM and Dec. 2 at 2 PM). Starring Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon ("Bless the Broken Road," "Cowboy Take Me Away") and country recording star Sherrie Austin ("Streets of Heaven"), along with some of Nashville's most beloved songs and performers, this is a celebration of the best new music coming out of Nashville.
  • Becoming Tennessee (Dec. 1 at 2 PM and Dec. 2 at 5 PM). Tony Award winner Gretha Boston stars in a concert reading presentation of a new musical by Clint Edwards and Michael Aman about a young Tennessee Williams, his search for self and his first visit to his city of muses, New Orleans. Brian Charles Rooney stars as Tennessee.
  • The Emelin's Broadway Holiday Cabaret (Dec. 6 at 8 PM). Artists from the entire "Theatre in Concert Festival" festival star in this one-night-only gala performance, focused on the holiday celebration. A folk series and children's theatre will also be featured in Emelin's 2007-08 season.

    As previously reported, a fundraiser gala dinner will be held Oct. 11 to celebrate the official public launch of "The Next Stage," the Emelin's $10 million renovation project that will more than double the size of the existing structure and allow the theatre to significantly expand its offerings. The evening at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle will introduce Emelin's new artistic director Bush and honor several stars of New York theatre, including Emmy Award-winning actress and singer Leslie Uggams and Tony Award-nominated actress Tovah Feldshuh. For information on the gala dinner at Glen Island or to buy show or dinner tickets, please contact Marla Towbin at (914) 698-3045 x 14 or marla4emelin@aol.com.

    The Emelin Theatre, founded in 1972, is the oldest continuously operating professional theatre in Westchester County.

    For more information visit www.emelin.org.

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