'Lost' Rodgers & Hart Show Launches Summer Stock on Bway

Summer Stock will come to the Big Apple this summer, with the launch of "Summer Stock on Broadway," a new annual series to be held in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space (Broadway at 95th Street).

Symphony Space Artistic Director Isaiah Sheffer today announced that the new series will open with a production of what is described as a "newly discovered 'lost' Rodgers and Hart musical," Manhattan Madcaps of 1924, from July 6 22, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and new libretto by Jerzy Turnpike. Annette Jolles directs; musical arrangements and direction are by Lanny Meyers and the choreographer is Regina Larkin. A July 12 opening is planned.

"Long before Rodgers and Hammerstein explored the hills of Austria, the kingdom of Siam and the islands of the South Pacific, the young Richard Rodgers showcased his hometown of New York City. Considered lost by theater historians, Symphony Space Artistic Director Isaiah Sheffer, abetted by the nimble book-writer Jerzy Turnpike, has 'rediscovered' this missing piece of musical history, which explores New York and Sheffer-like themes of love, mayoral politics and the quest for a decent apartment," state press notes.

"Boy meets Girl. Boy loses Girl. Boy gets Girl and a Manhattan apartment in this romantic romp through the Big Apple, as four couples seek happiness (and a place to live) in the Big City of 1924." Manhattan Madcaps of 1924 features songs from 17 Rodgers and Hart shows and film scores, including "City" (from Me for You, 1929); "Gotta Get Back to New York" (from Hallelujah I'm A Bum, 1933); "Where the Hudson River Flows" (from Dearest Enemy, 1925); "Way Out West (on West End Avenue)" (from Babes in Arms, 1937); "Any Old Place With You" (from Fly With Me, 1920); "At The Roxy Music Hall" (from I Married an Angel, 1938); "He Was Too Good To Me" (from Simple Simon, 1930); "Give It Back to the Indians" (from Too Many Girls, 1939); "Manhattan" (from Garrick Gaieties, 1925) and many others.

"New York City is the culture capital of the country" said Sheffer "But up until now, a theater-lover had to travel outside of the Big Apple to find a real, "lets-put-on-a-show" summer stock production. Summer Stock on Broadway will capture the best of summer stock, right here in New York, New York - and on Broadway to boot."

"When Rodgers and Hart lost Manhattan Madcaps of 1924, they were frantic," said librettist Jerzy Turnpike. "I think they would be thrilled to know that now, 82 years later, it will be receiving its world premiere on Broadway, just as they always intended (albeit Broadway at 95th Street). I am grateful to my alter-ego, Isaiah Sheffer, for his encouragement and commitment to bringing this show, with its 20 Rodgers and Hart songs, to production."

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart made their debut with the song "Any Old Place with You," featured in the 1919 Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. Their first hit, The Garrick Gaieties (1925) introduced the classic valentine to their hometown, "Manhattan." From 1920 to 1943, Rodgers & Handrt wrote an astonishing array of musical comedies for Broadway and London's West End, as well as scores for several movie musicals, including On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, I'd Rather be Right, I Married an Angel, The Boys from Syracuse, Higher and Higher and Pal Joey. At their pinnacle the team was writing an average of four new shows a year. They worked together on about thirty musicals from 1919 until Hart's death in 1943.

Jolles has directed the off-Broadway productions of Wallenberg, Suddenly Hope and That Time of the Year. Other credits include Little by Little (New York and regional premieres), resident director-choreographer for The Little Orchestra Society, and television work.

"Little is known about the mystery librettist Jerzy Turnpike, except that, as his name suggests, he combines aspects of the Polish avant-garde with an all-American talent. He has been channeled through Symphony Space artistic director Isaiah Sheffer, who can supply few other details about Turnpike's hazy biography."

Sheffer is a playwright, librettist, actor, co-founder and artistic director of Symphony Space and host of the literary program "Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story". Sheffer wrote the book and lyrics for the musicals Yiddle with a Fiddle and The Rise of David Levinsky. His latest play is Dreamers and Demons: The Three Worlds of Isaac Bashevis Singer.

"One of New York's primary cultural resources, Symphony Space fosters artistically and culturally diverse music, dance, literary, theatre, family and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in an atmosphere of exploration and intimacy. Reaching audiences throughout New York City, the wider metropolitan area, and, through distribution of programs via radio, recordings, podcasts and tours, the nation, Symphony Space presents and produces innovative, multidisciplinary arts events, and provides a first-rate affordable facility for artists and producers."

Manhattan Madcaps of 1924 will run Wednesday Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm, July 6 22 with an additional performance Tuesday, July 11 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $19 and are available by visiting the Symphony Space Box Office at Broadway and 95th Street or by calling 212-864-5400, Tuesday-Sunday, noon to 6 pm, or on-line at www.symphonyspace.org. General Information: (212) 864-1414. or info@symphonyspace.org.

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