Cy Coleman's Musical, The Great Ostrovsky, Gets Philly Reading Dec. 15 Prior to Spring 2004 Run | Playbill

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News Cy Coleman's Musical, The Great Ostrovsky, Gets Philly Reading Dec. 15 Prior to Spring 2004 Run Cy Coleman's new musical, The Great Ostrovsky, will have a private reading in Philadelphia Dec. 15 at Prince Music Theater in anticipation of the March 2004 world premiere there.

Composer-lyricist Coleman and book writer Avery Corman will be in attendance for the reading of show, about a larger-than-life Yiddish theatre figure from the early 20th century.

Is it a big, traditional musical comedy?

"It's not big," Prince producing artistic director Marjorie Samoff told Playbill On-Line. "And remember, this is the Prince: I don't know how traditional it's going to end up being. Although I love the traditional form, work here usually has a twist."

The show, with a cast of 12-14, is about a big personality from the New York Yiddish stage of the 1920s, but "it's really about the relationship of an artist to his audience and to big business. It's a period, but has some contemporary take. And it's funny — a happy ending."

The Monday night reading is by invitation for friends of the Prince Music Theater, Samoff said. Doug C. Wager will direct the reading. Pat Birch handles musical staging for the production, slated for March 6-April 4, 2004. In 2004, Prince Music Theater, which began as American Music Theater Festival 20 years ago, also offers a new musical version of the play, Gemini, and a production of William Bolcom's revised Casino Paradise.


At various times in its development, The Great Ostrovsky was known as Ostrovsky and It's Good To Be Alive. At one point, it was mentioned as a vehicle for comedian-actor Alan King.

"Meet David Ostrovsky, an artist of monumental talent, with self-confidence to match, who suddenly finds himself fighting for his own survival in a bustling world of aspiring artists and hustling promoters, left-wing idealists and girls who just want to be stars," reads the announcement.

Composer Coleman is the Tony Award-winner who penned scores for The Will Rogers Follies, Barnum, I Love My Wife, Wildcat, On the Twentieth Century, Little Me and The Life. He is not known for writing lyrics for his musical projects, but did co-write the book to The Life.

For Prince Music Theater information, call (215) 569-9700 or visit

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