Encores! Off-Center announces three musicals
New York City Center goes Off-Broadway this summer with the launch of Encores! Off-Center, a new series which will present seminal Off-Broadway musicals.
The series, under the artistic direction of Jeanine Tesori, will open with The Cradle Will Rock, Marc Blitzstein's 1937 allegory of corruption and corporate greed, directed by Sam Gold and choreographed by Chase Brock.
Next up will be a one-night-only performance of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet, starring Sutton Foster and directed by Leigh Silverman.
The series will conclude with Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford's I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall.
The series artistic Director Jeanine Tesori said
The goal of Encores! Off-Center is to connect the innovators of today to the shows that expanded creative boundaries in the past. We want to find out what happens when contemporary artists meet this material. How will today's directors, musicians, actors and audiences relate to these stories?
Full production details for the above shows are still to be released.
Encores! Off-Center productions in season order are:
The Cradle Will Rock, with music, lyrics and book by Marc Blitzstein, is a Brechtian allegory of corruption and corporate greed that pits exploited workers against greedy, union-busting businessmen.
The musical will be directed by Sam Gold and choreographed by Chase Brock.
The show was developed in 1937 with funds from the Federal Theater Project, a branch of the WPA. The original production, directed by Orson Welles, was shut down four days before opening. Officially, it was shut down due to WPA budget cuts, but many cited the show's pro-union themes as the government's impetus for its closing. The show finally opened Off-Broadway at the Venice Theatre in 1937 with private funding. Financial and union issues precluded an orchestra, so Blitzstein himself played the piano at the first preview, with the actors singing from the audience.
When the show moved to Broadway, union rules dictated a 10-person orchestra. But Blitzstein insisted on keeping the solo piano and paid nine musicians not to play each night. The story is that Blitzstein chose 10 of his neediest friends for the job. The show opened at the Windsor Theater on January 3, 1938 and ran 108 performances, directed by Howard Da Silva.
The Cradle Will Rock will run from 10 - 13 Jul 2013.
Violet, with music by Jeanine Tesori, with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley, is set in 1964 in the DeepSouth during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. It follows a young woman, accidentally scarred by her father, who travels to Oklahoma in hopes that a TV evangelist can cure her. Along the way, she meets a young black soldier who teaches her about beauty, love, courage and what it means to be an outsider.
The show will star Sutton Foster (Violet), and be directed by Leigh Silverman.
The musical opened Off-Broadway for a limited run at Playwrights Horizons on 11 Mar 1997. It won the Obie Award, Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, and Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical.
Violet will have a one-night-only performance on 17 Jul 2013.
I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, music by Nancy Ford, with book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer, revolves around a 39-year-old singer who is attempting a comeback as a pop star by performing personal songs that reflect women's changing roles and attitudes.
The production will be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall.
The musical opened on 14 Jun 1978, produced by Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival, it ran for 1,165 performances at the Anspacher Theater.
I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road will run from 24 - 27 Jul 2013.
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