Press Release from the Prince Music Theater
Long considered a breakthrough in the history of musical theater, Rodgers and Hart’s daring Pal Joey introduced audiences to John O’Hara’s irresistible "bad-boy" when it opened on Broadway in 1940. Now, during the Richard Rodgers Centennial Celebration, the Prince Music Theater offers a fresh look at this masterful musical in a new production starring Christine Andreas, directed by Lori Steinberg (national tour of Swing) with musical direction by Larry Goldberg (national tours of Cats; Sunset Boulevard.)
Pal Joey begins previews on November 2 and continues through November 17. Tickets, priced from $25 to $48 are available at UpStages, 215-569-9700, or on the Prince Music Theater web site, www.princemusictheater.org. Press opening is Saturday, November 9 at 8 pm.
Described in 1940 as "brilliant and strikingly original . . . an outstanding triumph," by the New York Herald Tribune, Pal Joey features a gritty, hard-hitting book by John O’Hara based on stories he wrote for the New Yorker, a glorious score by Richard Rodgers, daring and inventive lyrics by Larry Hart, and classic songs including "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "I Could Write a Book," and "Zip" - the song that made Elaine Stritch famous.
Christine Andreas, a two-time Tony Award nominee (for her starring roles in Oklahoma! and On Your Toes) brings her renowned soprano to the role of Vera. "With the sheer beauty of her voice . . . (Ms. Andreas) finds a blend of lyricism and sweet sensuality that only the finest Broadway voices can conjure," wrote The New York Times. Her recent Carnegie Hall debut was hailed as "brilliant" by Variety and her critically-praised cabaret show at the Algonquin Here’s to the Ladies is about to be released on CD.
The handsome Trent Dawson (Broadway, The Herbal Bed; television, Guiding Light and As the World Turns) also stars as Joey with Kelly McCormick as Linda, Joey’s naive girlfriend. Susann Fletcher plays Gladys, the lead dancer in the nightclub with Christa Justus as Melba, the newspaper reporter who reveals another side of herself in "Zip."
The choreography for Pal Joey is by Myra Bazell (Chicago, Myths & Hymns). Set design is by Luke Cantarella, (The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Falsettos); costumes are designed by Mark Mariani (Myths & Hymns, It’s Better with a Band); Michael Lincoln (Broadway, Copenhagen, More to Love, Skylight) designs the lights. Larry Goldberg conducts the orchestra and Nick Courtides (Lady in the Dark; Candide) designs the sound.
Pal Joey had its very first performances in Philadelphia in 1940 and then went on to open on Broadway and ran for less than a year. A decade later, band leaders and pop singers discovered "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" which reached the top of the charts. That sparked interest in the musical which was revived in 1952 and became an enormous success.
"Although Pal Joey was first produced in 1940, the characters are timeless," notes director Lori Steinberg. "We all know Joey, the charming, charismatic heel. Today, he’s in politics, on television and in life; and smart women continue to fall for him because they’re captivated by his danger and excitement."
"The Prince is delighted to be giving Philadelphia a chance to rediscover Pal Joey in this Rodgers Centennial year," said Marjorie Samoff, Producing Artistic Director, "and I think that audiences will find the wit, dark humor and complex characters of this piece to be dramatically engaging, especially in the intimacy of the Prince. Our own Richard Rodgers celebration will continue in November and December to include film presentations, panel discussions and cabaret. One highlight will be the screening of the highly-praised documentary about Richard Rodgers’ life introduced by its author, Larry Maslon."
Following her starring role as Vera in Pal Joey, Christine Andreas will open the Prince Music Theater’s Cabaret Series Upstairs at the Prince in the Independence Foundation Black Box. She will perform Here’s to the Ladies, a tribute to the great divas of the musical theater from November 29 through December 15 for 10 performances only.
Pal Joey is sponsored by Commerce Bank and WPEN-AM radio. The Prince Music Theater 2002-2003 season sponsors are Amtrak, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company and MagPage.
CHRISTINE ANDREAS (VERA)
LORI STEINBERG (DIRECTOR)
PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES