Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Musing on City Center Encores!

You know, I'm really looking forward to On the Town. I like that Encores! has found a way to celebrate Mr. Bernstein's 90th birthday along with the rest of the crowd, in spite of the fact that he's no longer with us. Perhaps his 100th will finally beget a staging of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... But I digress. I've admired the stage score for many years, but have never had the privilege of seeing the show performed live. Don't ask me why, but one of my favorite pieces in the score is the "Carnegie Hall Pavane: Do-Do-Re-Do" - and it's all because of the ride-out, especially on the 1960 studio album where the ladies hold out the note forever while we get a true Broadway finish to a number that is pretty much a throwaway, especially in regards to the standards that emerged from the show. I'm also excited we'll be getting Music in the Air (while I would have preferred Very Warm for May), but I gladly take my Hammerstein and Kern when I can get them. (Anyone going to the Show Boat concert at Carnegie Hall on June 10?)

I have to admit I'm pretty less than excited about the prospect of Finian's Rainbow as an Encores! entry next season. I think the score to the show is very engaging and enjoyable. (a Burton Lane and Yip Harburg collaboration is nothing to scoff at) but unfortunately I just don't care much for the show itself. The book, while solid satire in 1947, creaks along a bit too much today. I'm not sure how they got away with it in the Irish Repertory revival in 2004. There just seem to be a lot of shows I would like to see in its stead, more of the Napoleonic "If I Ruled the World" syndrome. However, if Encores! should bring back Malcolm Gets and Melissa Errico, so we can hear their fine voices with the original orchestrations, I might not be as reticent about its selection. And as much as I love Follies and will see it every time it's staged until my death, it didn't quite fit the criteria of the Encores! mission. With that said, what a fantastic production it was too! Also, I feel like we're slipping away from the lost shows. So many musicals exist that won't see the light of day in commercial productions unless you find a producer with the reckless abandon or in search of a tax relief.

If I were planning Encores, we'd be set for the next few decades. Or perhaps I'd add a fourth show a year to the list.

These are some of the things I'd like to see at the City Center:

Darling of the Day (w. Victoria Clark), New Girl in Town, Irma La Douce (w. Mara Davi. There I've decided), Very Warm for May (preferably with Kelli O'Hara leading "All the Things You Are"), Street Scene, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Good News, Irene, Dear World, The Grass Harp, Carmen Jones, A Time for Singing, Pipe Dream, The Golden Apple, Carmelina, Coco (w. Harriet Harris!), Fanny, Henry Sweet Henry, Tovarich, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Donnybrook!, Redhead, On Your Toes, Lost in the Stars, Milk and Honey, Oh Kay!, Sugar, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Woman of the Year. And of course: the no-shot in hell: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If you got to plan an Encores! season, what three shows would you select? (And optional, why?)


SarahB said...

1. Mame (especially at the Encores! Summer Stars)

2. No Strings

3. Leaving this one open because it changes daily.

Roxie said...

Let's see...

1. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave w/ V. Clark

2. Ernest in Love (merely for "A Handbag is Not A Proper Mother" and with someone totally fun as Lady B...)

3. Cats (Oh God - I'm totally kidding. Patti, why are you looking at me like that?)

3. (for real) Anyone Can Whistle. (just because I love that one!)