Stephanie J. Block, Sebastian Arcelus, Lauren Kennedy, Josh Young et al. Set for BABY Concert, 6/18
Transport Group, the Drama Desk and OBIE award-winning theatre company, has announced initial casting for its one-night-only, all-star concert of the acclaimed 1983 Broadway musical Baby, which will take place Monday, June 18 at 7pm at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Cast members will include Nancy Anderson (2-time Drama Desk nominee for Fanny Hill and Jolson And Co.), Sebastian Arcelus (Elf), Stanley Bahorek (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, See Rock City & Other Destinations), Courtney Balan (Rated P for Parenthood, Cry Baby), Stephanie J. Block (2-time Drama Desk nominee for By the way, Meet Vera Stark and 9 to 5, Anything Goes), Andrea Burns (Drama Desk winner for In The Heights), Alan Campbell (Tony nominee for Sunset Boulevard), Lewis Cleale (The Book of Mormon, Drama Desk nominee for Swinging on a Star), Jenny Fellner (Wicked, Pal Joey), Santino Fontana (Drama Desk winner for Brighton Beach Memoirs, Lortel winner for Sons of the Prophet), Jonathan Hammond (Ragtime, Obie winner for The Boys in the Band), Ann Harada (Avenue Q, NBC’s Smash), Morgan James (Godspell), Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot, Side Show), Julia Murney (Drama Desk nominee for The Wild Party, Wicked, Queen of the Mist), Kerry O'Malley (Drama Desk nominee for Into the Woods, White Christmas), Jill Paice (Curtains), Mamie Parris (Ragtime), Bryce Ryness (Drama Desk nominee for Hair), Meredith Ryness, Brian Sears (The Book of Mormon), Cheryl Stern (La Cage, The Women), Bob Stillman (Tony nominee for Dirty Blonde), and Josh Young (Tony nominee for Jesus Christ Superstar).
The evening will be directed by Jack Cummings III, with musical direction by Chris Haberl. Original cast members Liz Callaway and Todd Graff, who received Tony Award nominations for their performances, will host the evening. David Shire and Richard Maltby will join them, as well as other original cast members, for a discussion following the performance.
In Baby three couples, each newly expecting a child, have different but familiar reactions to the life-changing news of pregnancy. Lizzie and Danny are university juniors who have just moved in together. Athletic Pam and her husband, Nick, a sports instructor, have had some trouble conceiving. Arlene, already the mother of three grown daughters, is unsure of what to do, contemplating abortion while her husband Alan is thrilled with the thought of a new baby. Throughout the show they experience the emotional stresses and triumphs— the desperate lows and the comic highs—that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby.
Baby, with a book by Sybille Pearson, music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., based upon a story developed with Susan Yankowitz, opened on December 4, 1983 at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The production received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and six Drama Desk Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical, winning two Drama Desk Awards—Outstanding Featured Actor and Actress in a Musical. The New York Times wrote, “Shire writes with sophistication over a range that embraces rock, jazz and the best of Broadway schmaltz. Maltby's lyrics are not just smart and funny, but often ingenious." The New York Post also applauded, "Pearson's book is agreeably smart...it has style and energy, a rare combination."
Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director, and Lori Fineman, Executive Director, is a not-for-profit theatre company that stages new works and re-imagined revivals by American writers. Their visually progressive productions of emotionally classic stories explore the challenges of relationships and identity in America. Transport Group is the winner of a special Drama Desk Award for its “breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions.” Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, which featured older actors in the roles of Emily and George and a twelve-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Its second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 the company presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Other productions include the world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical; Normal, a new musical about a mother’s battle to save her daughter from anorexia; cul-de-sac, a new play by Tony Award nominee John Cariani; the first New York revival of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize play, All the Way Home; the 50th anniversary, OBIE-winning production of William Inge’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; the world premiere musicals Crossing Brooklyn, Marcy in the Galaxy, and Being Audrey, and the first New York revival of Irwin Shaw’s Bury the Dead. Both First Lady Suite and Bury the Dead were filmed for the New York Performing Arts Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at Lincoln Center. In 2010 Transport Group presented a sold-out, extended engagement of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band, which received an OBIE Award and was nominated for five 2010 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play—the most for an off-Broadway play. Transport Group’s productions of See Rock City and Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias, and Hello Again by Michael John LaChiusa combined for eleven 2011 Drama Desk Award nominations and one win. Transport Group’s production of Lysistrata Jones, by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, opened to rave reviews, played to sell-out houses, and transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. The company’s most recent productions include a critically acclaimed run of The Patsy and Jonas at The Duke on 42nd Street, starring OBIE winner David Greenspan and Michael John LaChiusa’s world premiere musical, Queen of the Mist. For more information about Transport Group visit www.transportgroup.org.
Transport Group is currently in the middle of its 20th Century Project, a ten-year initiative spanning ten productions, each production focusing on a different decade of the 20th century. The ten productions comprise five musicals and five plays—including three commissioned musicals, two commissioned plays, and five revivals. Its most recent production, Queen of the Mist, was the project’s inaugural presentation.
Transport Group’s all-star concert of Baby will take place Monday, June 18 at 7pm at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street, (www.lortel.org). Premium reserved seats are $100; regular general admission prices start at $55. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.transportgroup.org or by phoning 212-564-0333.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.