Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Dawn, a New Day, A New Moon - 42nd Street Moon's 2010-2011 Season

While the first of our spring 2010 shows, Lady, Be Good!, is already rehearsing at MoonSpace, the 2010-11 Moon season, “Lovers, Liars and Clowns!” is also officially “off and running.” The Early Bird subscription campaign for our eighteenth season has moved into high gear, and the press announcement has found its way into the San Francisco Chronicle and several New York theatre websites.

Interestingly, the plans Stephanie and I had for next season took several twists and turns before we arrived at A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Murder for Two, Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, and Silk Stockings.

Remember the ballot from last spring? Sure you do. Our intent was to include two of the top vote-getting shows in 2010 -11, Gigi and Forum, but alas, the rights to Gigi were unavailable (a major revival is in the works for the show). Gigi, then, gave way to Cole Porter’s Silk Stockings – probably my favorite “underrated” Cole Porter show, and one I’m so glad to have a chance to revisit.

Our complete reconstruction of the Kern-Hammerstein Three Sisters (which has absolutely nothing to do with Chekhov’s same-titled play!) is delayed till the fall of 2011, so Rodgers and Hart have moved into that slot although our Jerome Kern celebration continues with the Jerome Kern Salon in October.

Strike Up the Band was always targeted for Moon’s Ira Gershwin multi-year salute, but we moved it up to 2010-11 because George S. Kaufman’s deft anti-war satire seems particularly timely.

The first two shows of the season are perhaps the most unusual for Moon. Since we focus on “uncommon musicals,” we normally wouldn’t do a show as widely seen as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Forum, however, is consistently one of the most-requested shows from our audiences (you!), which won it a place on the ballot last season.

This is Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday year, so this is the year that Forum will land on the Moon!

Taking our cue from the 1996 revival, in which Whoopi Goldberg followed Nathan Lane in the role of Pseudolus, we decided we could give the show a fresh twist with Megan Cavanagh taking on the role. If you’ve seen Megan’s comic turns in Out of This World, High Spirits, or Jubilee, you know what a treat we’re all in for.

When we founded 42nd Street Moon in 1993, Stephanie and I did not necessarily see it as a home for new musicals. Our productions were strictly bare bones, script-in-hand concerts at the time. It seemed to us that new work deserved a shot at a full production before going the “concert route.”

Seventeen years later, the theatrical climate has evolved dramatically, as have our shows.

Murder for Two represents a first for 42nd Street Moon – a brand new musical which will be making its West Coast debut on the Eureka Stage, following a summer run in Glens Falls, New York. [Bonus points to anyone who can name the musical – which Moon has done! – that takes place in Glens Falls.]

Two dynamically talented young writers, Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, have written this spoof of the Agatha Christie murder mystery genre: a murder in an old house, a group of eccentric and enigmatic suspects, and a body count that keeps rising. The book is so funny and the score is so fresh – as if Jerry Herman and Cole Porter had given birth to a score midwifed by Stephen Sondheim – that we couldn’t resist giving our Moon audiences the chance to enjoy this before it gets snapped up for a major production.

Is it a dramatically different turn for us? Not really – it’s certainly an “uncommon” musical, just not a “vintage” musical. (It does share many qualities with the great old musicals of the Golden Age). Although we have focused heavily on 1920s through 1970s musicals, we’ve never had a strict “time frame.” Murder for Two is the precursor to a dazzling surprise we have in store for our 20th season in 2012-13 – but rest assured that Porter, Gershwin, Kern, Berlin, Rodgers, Hart, and Hammerstein will always be on the bill at 42nd Street Moon.

Thank You to Guest Blogger Artistic Director Greg MacKellan.

If you'd like to take advantage of the Early Bird Pricing for your subscription, click here.  Hurry, offer ends March 25, 2010.

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