Raul Esparza Joins Encores! ANYONE CAN WHISTLE with Donna Murphy & Sutton Foster

Raul Esparza Joins Encores! ANYONE CAN WHISTLE with Donna Murphy & Sutton Foster

Raúl Esparza, Edward Hibbert, Jeff Blumenkrantz and John Ellison Conlee will join Donna Murphy and Sutton Foster in Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' Anyone Can Whistle, the final New York City Center Encores! production of the 2009-2010 season. Anyone Can Whistle, running for five performances April 8 - 11, will be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw with musical direction by Rob Berman.

Anyone Can Whistle opened on April 4, 1964 at the Majestic Theatre and closed after only nine performances. Directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick and Harry Guardino, the experimental satire took aim at every target on the American cultural scene of the moment-conformity, psychology, race relations, greed, religion and politics. It divided the critics, thrilled the emerging counter-culture, baffled the masses, and became an instant legend-one that has grown over the years along with Sondheim's reputation. The title song and "With So Little to Be Sure Of" have survived as cabaret classics, but the rarely heard complete score is a riot of jazzy, show-biz razzmatazz, waltzes, gospel numbers and Broadway pastiche, as full of variety and surprise as the show that gave birth to it.

The cast (as of March 17) includes Jeff Blumenkrantz, John Ellison Conlee, Raúl Esparza, Sutton Foster, Edward Hibbert and Donna Murphy, with Clyde Alves, Tanya Birl, Holly Ann Butler, J. Austin Eyer, Sara Ford, Lisa Gajda, Stephanie Gibson, Linda Griffin, Karen Hyland, Natalie King, Grasan Kingsberry, Max Kumangai, Michael Marcotte, Joseph Medeiros, Denny Paschall, Monica L. Patton, Steve Schepis, Eric Sciotto, Tally Sessions, Brian Shepard, Dana Steingold, Brandon Tyler, Anthony Wayne and Patrick Wetzel.

Jeff Blumenkrantz (Treasurer Cooley) has appeared on Broadway in A Class Act, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, 3 Penny Opera and Into the Woods. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his contribution to the score of Urban Cowboy.

John Ellison Conlee (Police Chief Magruder) was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in The Full Monty. His other Broadway credits include The Constant Wife and 1776. Mr. Conlee was last seen at City Center in the Encores! production of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Raúl Esparza (J. Bowden Hapgood) was nominated for Tony awards for his performances in Speed-the-Plow, The Homecoming, Company and Taboo. His other Broadway credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chess, The Rocky Horror Show and Cabaret.

Edward Hibbert's (Comptroller Schub) many Broadway credits include Curtains, The Drowsy Chaperone, Noises Off , The Green Bird, Me and My Girl and Marlene. He was last seen at City Center in the Encores! production of Lady In The Dark.

Sutton Foster (Nurse Fay Apple) won the Tony Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie and has been nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Shrek, The Drowsy Chaperone and Little Women. Her other Broadway credits include Young Frankenstein, Les Misérables, Annie, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Grease. She has performed concert versions of Chess, Funny Girl (Actors Fund) and the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center. On television, Ms. Foster has appeared in "Johnny and the Sprites" and "Flight of the Conchords." Her debut CD, Wish, is now available.

Donna Murphy (Cora Hoover Hooper) won Tony Awards for her performances as Fosca in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion and as Anna in The King and I. She was nominated for Tony Awards for Lovemusik and Wonderful Town, a performance she originated in the City Center Encores! production. Her Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Human Comedy and They're Playing Our Song, and she was seen off-Broadway in Twelve Dreams, Hello Again, Song of Singapore and Privates on Parade. Ms. Murphy's film credits include Rapunzel, The Nanny Diaries, The Fountain, World Trade Center, Spider-Man 2, The Door in the Floor, Center Stage and Star Trek: Insurrection. She was last seen at City Center as Phyllis in the Encores! production of Follies.

Casey Nicholaw was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Choreography for Monty Python's Spamalot and also for his direction and choreography of The Drowsy Chaperone. Other New York credits include Candide, starring Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth for the New York Philharmonic (shown on PBS' Great Performances), and South Pacific at Carnegie Hall, with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell (also on PBS' Great Performances). His previous Encores! credits include director/choreographer of Follies, the musical staging of Can-Can and choreography for Bye Bye Birdie. Upcoming projects include the new musicals Minsky's, Elf and Robin and the 7 Hoods.

Rob Berman (Music Director) has been music director of the Encores! series for three seasons and has conducted Stairway to Paradise, Damn Yankees, Music in the Air, Applause and Finian's Rainbow, which he also conducted in its Broadway transfer of Finian's Rainbow at the ST. James Theater. Other Broadway credits include Irving Berlin's White Christmas, for which he serves as music supervisor, the Tony Award-winning revival of The Pajama Game and Wonderful Town. Mr. Berman was music director of the Kennedy Center's production of Sunday in the Park With George, for which he won a Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical Direction. He is also music director of the Kennedy Center Honors orchestra, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Anyone Can Whistle is generously supported by Perry and Martin Granoff and Mary Jo and Ted Shen.

The 2009-2010 Encores! season is made possible, in part, by the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!

The Newman's Own Foundation is a proud sponsor of Encores! The Newman's Own Foundation is an independent, private foundation that derives its grant-making income from royalty payments received in conjunction with the sale of Newman's Own food products. Since the inception of Newman's Own in the early 1980s, more than $280 million has been donated to thousands of charities around the world.

New York City Center Encores! (Jack Viertel, Artistic Director; Rob Berman, Music Director) has, since 1994, celebrated the rarely heard works of America's most important composers and lyricists. Conceived as

concert versions, each Encores! season gives three scores the chance to be heard as originally intended by their creators. Over the years, Encores! has presented the works of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart,

Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Bock and Harnick, Burt Bacharach, Kander and Ebb, Comden and Green, and many others. The program is the recipient of a special 2000 Tony

Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Jujamcyn Theaters Award.

New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President and CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city for more than 60 years. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 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, Paul Taylor Dance Company and 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 2007, Encores! Summer Stars was introduced with Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone, which transferred to Broadway and garnered three Tony Awards for its lead actors. Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start, and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival and a partnership with London's Sadler's Wells Theatre, remain central to City Center's identity.

Tickets for the 2009-2010 Encores! season are available at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix® at 212-581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org. Tickets for the Orchestra, Grand Tier and Mid-Mezzanine tickets are $95; tickets for the Rear Mezzanine and Front Gallery are $50; tickets for the Rear Gallery are $25.

 

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