Danny and Sylvia, the Musical About Showman Danny Kaye, Begins Off-Broadway May 6

News   Danny and Sylvia, the Musical About Showman Danny Kaye, Begins Off-Broadway May 6
The new Off-Broadway run of Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, a show seen in regional productions and in a Manhattan showcase in 2002, begins May 6 at St. Luke's Theatre.
Brian Childers and Kimberly Faye Greenberg
Brian Childers and Kimberly Faye Greenberg Photo by Carol Rosegg

The commercial run of the biographical show about the beloved entertainer and his writer wife will officially open May 13. Hy Juter and Edmund Gaynes are producing.

This new engagement of the property includes a slight title change, a new production team and revisions made over the years. (It used to be called Danny and Sylvia: A Musical Love Story.)

Kaye was famous as a star of TV, theatre (Lady in the Dark, Two by Two) and films ("Hans Christian Andersen" and "White Christmas"). Sylvia Fine Kaye wrote many of his famous songs.

This "new musical love story" has book and lyrics by former Kaye confidant Robert McElwaine and music by Bob Bain. It features Helen Hayes Award winner Brian Childers as Danny Kaye and Kimberly Faye Greenberg as his wife and creative partner, Sylvia Fine.

Directed by Pamela Hall with choreography by Gene Castle, the musical "follows the duo from the time the young undisciplined comic Danny Kaminsky meets aspiring songwriter Sylvia Fine at an audition in the 1930s," according to production notes. "Under Sylvia's guidance as mentor, manager and eventually, wife, Kaye rises from improvisational comic to international film star. The musical explores their inspired collaboration and the romance and conflict that made them such a volatile and successful couple." David Fiorello is music director.


The show features such signature Danny Kaye songs as "Tchaikovsky," "Anatole of Paris," "Minnie the Moocher" and "Deena." Kaye's credits include the films "The Court Jester," "Hans Christian Andersen," "White Christmas," "The Kid From Brooklyn," "The Inspector General" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," among others, and the stage musicals Lady in the Dark and Two By Two, among others. He was born David Daniel Kaminsky, the son of an immigrant Ukrainian tailor. He was a sensation in England, performing his concert act before the Royal Family. As a humanitarian, he was an ambassador for UNICEF. He was so identified with the United Nations agency that when UNICEF received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, Kaye was selected to accept it.

Danny and Sylvia has been presented in London and the Washington, DC, area, where Childers won a Helen Hayes Award for playing Kaye. The musical is the longest-running show in the history of Virginia's The American Century Theater, having played 66 performances in Arlington.

The show is not to be confused with another Danny Kaye musical, The Kid From Brooklyn, which played Florida, Los Angeles and Chicago, and also featured actor Childers.

The creative team includes set designer Josh Iacovelli and lighting designer Graham Kindred.

Childers received the 2002 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical and the 2001 Mary Goldwater Award for his performance as Danny Kaye in Danny and Sylvia: A Musical Love Story. He also received the 2005 Star-Ledger Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Harry Witherspoon in Lucky Stiff at the Forum Theater. Childers played the title role in the national tour of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Ken Ludwig.

Greenberg, who plays Sylvia Fine, has performed across the United States in national tours, regional theatres, cabarets and theatre for young audiences. Her roles include The Vagina Monologues (Off-Broadway), Sylvia Fine in The Danny Kaye Story (Maltz Jupiter Theatre and Broward Stage Door Theatre), Fiddler On The Roof (as Tzeitel and Hodel), Mary Magdalene in The Passion Play, The Musical (the oldest most Historic Passion Play in the U.S. at the Park Theatre, NJ), and, most recently, the Off-Broadway revival of Christmas Rappings by Al Carmines at Theatre at Judson.

McElwaine (book and lyrics) was director of advertising and publicity for the Goldwyn Studios in the 1950s, where he met Danny Kaye and became his publicist and confidant for 20 years. As a member of the board of John F. Kennedy Productions, McElwaine worked on more than 80 stage productions for the Kennedy Center. He was also chairman of the board of the Writers Center, an organization dedicated to the development of new writers.

Bain has composed music for three musicals in collaboration with Bob McElwaine over the last ten years. Prior to that Bain was lead guitarist and composer/arranger at MGM and arranger for Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" Orchestra.

Hall directed The Rise of Dorothy Hale, Trolls, the long-running hit Picon Pie and Emily Mann's Annulla. Most recently she directed the current national tour of Gilligan's Island: The Musical. She was nominated for an Ovation Award for her direction of the L.A. premiere of The Taffetas and also directed the West Coast premieres of Jeff Daniels' Shoe Man; the Fred Allen bioplay Mr. Allen, Mr. Allen; Maltby and Shire's Starting Here, Starting Now and the long-running original musical Crazy Words, Crazy Tunes. Hall directed Hand in Hand: The Un-Musical, the first musical created and performed by the Tony-nominated Deaf West Theatre.

Choreographer Castle recently directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway musical, Babalu-Cy! He also choreographed the current national tour of Gilligan's Island: The Musical.

St. Luke's Theatre is at 308 West 46th Street, west of Eighth Avenue. The performance schedule is Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2 PM and Saturday evenings at 8 PM. Tickets at $56.50 and $31.50 are available through www.TeleCharge.com or (212) 239-6200.

For additional information visit www.dannyandsylvia.com.

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