Vivian Reed to Lead Harold Arlen Musical-ONE FOR MY BABY Reading in October
One for My Baby, set to a score of some three dozen Harold Arlen classics and billed as "a song-and-dance celebration ofbig-city nightlife at the end of World War II," will have a private, industry-only workshop at the New 42nd Street Studios, 229 West 42 Street, this October 11 and October 12.
Arlen is one of Broadway and Hollywood's most prolific composers, and a favorite of singers Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, who popularized the title song "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)."
Besides the title song, One for My Baby will include such classics as "Stormy Weather," "Get Happy," "The Man that Got Away," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Accentuate the Positive," "That Old Black Magic" and "Blues in the Night," with lyrics by such esteemed collaborators as Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Ted Koehler, and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, who said of Arlen: "His songs seep into the heart of a people, a nation, of a world and stay there."
One for My Baby's award-winning director and choreographer Scott Thompson said that Vivian Reed will head a cast of 28. Thompson also co-wrote the show's original book, with Fred Barton, who also provides the musical arrangements.
Vivian Reed will portray Panama Jones, a composite of the great club starsof the era and self-proclaimed "queen of the nightclubs." Reed is a two-time Tony Award-nominated singer, actress and dancer and the recipient of a Drama Desk Award, a Theatre World Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, an NAACP Award and several others. She received critical acclaim on Broadway inBubbling Brown Sugar and in Toronto for her portrayal of "Queenie" in the Harold Prince revival of Show Boat. She also appeared in the critically acclaimed Marie Christine at Lincoln Center Theater.
"A full Harold Arlen score has not been heard on Broadway since 1959's Saratoga," said Sam Arlen, the composer's son. "What Scott and Fred have created would give his music a long overdue representation on the Broadway stage after over half a century."
Truman Capote said of Arlen: "He is always courageous, intelligent, and incapable of cliché. His songs almost invariably contain some melodic surprise, some difficulty - which is one of the reasons he has not had the recognition he deserves."
Thompson has directed and choreographed some of Broadway's brightest talents in more than 100 award-winning productions nationwide, including Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley in her first Gypsy and Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman in Damn Yankees.
His production of Dames at Sea in San Francisco won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Ovation Award. "Director-choreographer Scott Thompson doesn't allow a millisecond's flab – every moment, musical or otherwise, ekes maximum cartoonish mileage out of the material's wit," wrote Variety's Dennis Harvey. Later, he successfully remounted the production at Goodspeed Opera House.
Thompson won the Connecticut Critics Circle Awards as Best Director and Best Choreographer for his productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sweet Charity. In 1996 he founded Austin Musical Theatre and served as its producing artistic director for eight seasons. He has staged star-studded Broadway events at Town Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and for the Library of Congress he choreographed the Centennial Gershwin Gala, starring Audra McDonald. He directed and choreographed HBO's "Cathouse: The Musical" (2008), for which Fred Barton was musical supervisor.
Barton, who has worked with Thompson for almost 25 years, was in the original cast of and music-directed Forbidden Broadway. His Broadway and national tour conducting credits include: Cabaret with Joel Grey; Zorba with Anthony Quinn; Camelot with Robert Goulet; and City of Angels. His symphonic arrangements are played regularly at Carnegie Hall and by orchestras nationwide. He has numerous credits as television composer, lyricist, book writer, and music director.
One for My Baby is being co-produced by One for My Baby, LLC, and The Broadway Musicals Company, in association with Carolyn and Marc Seriff, Louise H. Beard, Maureen E. Gillespie, Carolyn Gallagher, Brian Zucker, Karl Held, Cliff and Linda Mountain, and Travis P. Brendle. General management is by Brierpatch Productions, Scott Newsome and Laura Cronin. Casting is by Stuart Howard and Paul Hardt. Legal representation is by Jonathan Herzog.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.