Brian Stokes Mitchell to Lead THE BAND WAGON for Encores! This November
Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell will star in The Band Wagon, an Encores! Special Event based on the classic MGM movie of the same title, from November 6 - 16, 2014 at City Center. The show has a book by Douglas Carter Beane adapted from the screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz. The Band Wagon will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall with music direction by Todd Ellison. The Band Wagon will run for 12 performances, by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures.
The Band Wagon is a classic backstage musical: A washed-up Hollywood star trying to make a comeback by doing a Broadway show, a British director who is a genius but has no business directing a musical, a leading lady who's never done a show before, and a composer and a lyricist who are at each other's throats. All the things that could never happen in the New York theater today.
Written by Broadway's ultimate insiders, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the 1953 film used Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's wonderful songs to tell their story and took its title from the famed 1931 Broadway revue written by Schwartz, Dietz, and George S. Kaufman.
Now five-time Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane will use the original Comden and Green screenplay (including scenes never filmed) as a basis for this Encores! Special Event, with a wonderful score that includes "Dancing in the Dark," "By Myself," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," "A Shine on My Shoes," and that great anthem for all of show business, "That's Entertainment."
Douglas Carter Beane (Book)'s credits on Broadway include Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Tony Award nomination), The Nance (nominated for five Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards), Lysistrata Jones (Tony Award nomination), Sister Act (Tony Award nomination), the stage adaptation of the film Xanadu (Outer Critics Circle & HX Awards for Best Musical, Drama Desk Award for Best Book, and four Tony nominations including Best Musical), and The Little Dog Laughed (Tony Award; Olivier Award nomination). His other plays include As Bees in Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, Music From a Sparkling Planet, The Country Club, Advice From a Caterpillar, The Cartells, and Mondo Drama. He has written the libretto for the Metropolitan Opera's Die Fledermaus, and his ballet Artists and Models, 1929 is a part of the dance show In Your Arms. He wrote the film adaptation of his play Advice From a Caterpillar as well as the screenplay of To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Douglas is currently writing a movie for Fox Searchlight and creating a series for HBO. His next play, Shows For Days, will be produced this spring by Lincoln Center Theater, and he is developing a play in verse, Fairycakes, which he will both write and direct.
Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, one of the greatest American songwriting teams, wrote some of Broadway and Hollywood's biggest hits of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, including "Dancing in the Dark," "That's Entertainment," "You and the Night and the Music," "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan," "I See Your Face Before Me," "Alone Together," and "Love Is a Dancing Thing." Dietz and Schwartz collaborated on 11 Broadway shows over the course of 34 years; their many credits include The Little Show (1929), Three's a Crowd (1930), The Band Wagon (1931), Flying Colors (1932), At Home Abroad (1935), Between the Devil (1937), The Gay Life (1961), and Jenny (1963).
Todd Ellison (Music Director)'s many Broadway credits include the recent revival of Annie, Monty Python's Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, 42nd Street, Elton John's Lestat, Michel Legrand's Amour, The Wild Party, On the Town, Once Upon a Mattress (starring Sarah Jessica Parker), How To Succeed... (starring Matthew Broderick), She Loves Me, Taller Than a Dwarf,and A Class Act. He was the music director of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for several seasons. As Marvin Hamlisch's music director, he worked on The Nutty Professor (directed by Jerry Lewis) and Ballroom. As a Pops conductor he has conducted The Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as Long Beach, New Haven, and York Symphonies. Todd conducted the Encores! production of On the Town and was a guest pianist for No, No, Nanette. toddellisonmusic.com
Kathleen Marshall (Director/Choreographer)returns to City Center, where she has directed and choreographed the Encores! Off-Center production of Getting My Act Together... and the Encores! productions of Bells Are Ringing, Applause, Carnival, and Hair, among others, and served as artistic director for four seasons. Her Broadway credits include Nice Work If You Can Get It, Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Follies, and Kiss Me, Kate. She recently directed Joe DiPietro's Living on Love at the Williamstown Theatre Festival starring Renée Fleming. She has received three Tony Awards (out of nine nominations), three Drama Desk Awards, and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.
New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO), now in its 70th year, has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with a mission to make the best in music, theater and dance accessible to all audiences. Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, City Center's Principal Dance Company, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as "one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York." In summer 2013, City Center launched Encores! Off-Center, a new series featuring landmark Off Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's most innovative artists. Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start - and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival, remain central to City Center's identity. Vital partnerships with arts organizations including Jazz at Lincoln Center and London's Sadler's Wells Theatre enhance City Center's programmatic offerings. City Center is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to New York City students and teachers through programs such as Encores! In Schools and the Young People's Dance Series. Special workshops cater to families, seniors, and other groups, while events such as the Fall for Dance DanceTalk series offer learning opportunities to the general public. In October 2011, City Center completed an extensive renovation project to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.
The Band Wagon will run for 12 performances, November 6 - 16 (see full schedule below) Tickets go on sale on September 2 at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix at 212-581-1212, and online at www.NYCityCenter.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride