Casting Announced for Reading of Revised Version of Broadway Pageant Musical Smile

News   Casting Announced for Reading of Revised Version of Broadway Pageant Musical Smile
A revised version of the short-lived 1986 Marvin Hamlisch-Howard Ashman musical Smile, set behind the scenes of an American beauty pageant, will receive a New York reading later this month.

Lewis Cleale
Lewis Cleale

Richard Biever will helm the private Nov. 19 industry reading that will reflect revisions made to the musical by Hamlisch and Ashman following its Broadway run. Isaac Harlan will serve as musical director.

Biever told that the reading will reflect the licensable version that is available from Samuel French. After the Broadway production shuttered, the creators drew on their earlier instincts for the piece, and Biever tells that the licensable production "is essentially the script and score of the workshop, pre-Broadway," which casts a darker tone on the material.

Participating in the reading will be Mollie Vogt-Welch (A Tale of Two Cities) as Doria, who sings the musical's best-known song "Disneyland." The cast will also include Michele Ragusa (Young Frankenstein, Ragtime) as pageant coordinator Brenda DiCarlo Freelander, Lewis Cleale (Spamalot, Amour) as head pageant judge Big Bob Freelander, Carol Linnea Johnson  as Carol (Mamma Mia!), Addi McDaniel (The Fantasticks) as Robin, Chris Hoch (La Cage aux Folles) as choreographer Tommy French, Todd Thurston (Ragtime, Queen of the Mist) as Young American Miss Foundation chairman Dale Wilson-Shears and Bryan Scott Johnson (Mamma Mia!) as pageant MC Ted Farley.

The ensemble will include Faren Collins, Lara Knox, Kelsey Lope, Lauren Nester, Nick Reynolds, Lexi Rhoades, Jamila Sabares-Klemm, Laurie Veldheer and Lauren Weinberg.

According to presenters of the reading, "Smile follows the intrigue and exploits onstage and behind-the-scenes as Santa Rosa, California plays host to the Young American Miss Pageant." Smile has music by Tony and Academy Award winner Hamlisch and book and lyrics by the late Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, "The Little Mermaid"). Ashman directed the Broadway production that opened Nov. 14, 1986, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and ran for only 59 performances. Smile earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical.

The original production featured such songs as "Disneyland," "Shine," "Until Tomorrow Night," "Young and American," "Smile," "In Our Hands" and "Pretty as a Picture."

The presentation will be held 2 PM Nov. 19 at the Barrow Group, 312 W. 36th St. For industry inquiries and reservations, email

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