Encores 2015: Lady Be Good, Paint Your Wagon, Zorba

Broadway Legend

The 2015 season of the City Center Encores! series will feature limited engagements of George and Ira Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good; Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon; and John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Zorba!

Jack Viertel is the Encores! artistic director; Rob Berman is its music director. Berman will helm both Paint Your Wagon and Zorba! Founding Encores! music director Rob Fisher will return as music director of Lady, Be Good, and will supervise the restoration of Gershwin’s original score.

Lady, Be Good, which opens the season Feb. 4, 2015, "ushered in the Golden Age of Broadway, from the mid-’20s until the early ’40s, when Broadway musicals were opportunities for great songwriters, great songs, and great performers," according to City Center. "The Gershwins (George was hot off the triumph of Rhapsody in Blue) delivered a jazz-age score that featured 'Fascinatin’ Rhythm,' as well as a song that got unaccountably dropped during the show’s tryout in Philadelphia, 'The Man I Love.' The stars of the show included Fred and Adele Astaire playing a penniless brother and sister who crash a garden party in hopes of some quick nourishment."

Lady, Be Good opened at the Liberty Theatre Dec. 1, 1924, and ran for 330 performances. It has music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin with a book by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson. Songs include “Oh, Lady Be Good,” “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” and “The Half of it Dearie Blues.” Lady, Be Good! will run through Feb. 8.


“We’re amazingly lucky to be given the opportunity to put this score back together, and we’re uniquely suited to the task,” said artistic director Viertel in a statement. “Rob Fisher knows the world of 1920s musicals better than anyone, and thanks to the resources put at our disposal by the Steinberg Fund, we’ll be able to do the job in a first class way and transport audiences back to the world of the Charleston, flashy twin-piano solos, muted trumpets and slide trombones.”
Paint Your Wagon, set in a mining camp in Gold Rush-era California, is the story of a "dreaming gold miner and his daughter whose world is changed when the daughter finds gold—and love—near their camp."

Paint Your Wagon opened at the Shubert Theatre Nov. 12, 1951, and ran for 289 performances. It has a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The original production was directed by Daniel Mann and choreographed by Agnes de Mille. Songs include “They Call the Wind Maria,” “I Talk to the Trees” and “I’m On My Way.” Paint Your Wagon will run March 18-22.

Zorba! is John Kander and Fred Ebb’s "galvanic re-imagining of Nikos Kazantzakis’s best-selling tale of a larger than life Greek jack-of-all-trades who 'lives every day as if it will be his last.'”

Zorba! has a book by Joseph Stein, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. It was adapted from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. The original production starred Herschel Bernardi and Maria Karnilova and was directed by Hal Prince. It opened at the Imperial Theatre Nov. 16, 1968, and ran for 305 performances. Songs include “Life Is” and “Only Love.” Zorba! will run May 6-10.

Complete creative teams and casting will be announced at a later time.

Encores! subscriptions can be purchased online starting Aug. 11 and at the New York City Center Box Office on Oct. 6 (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), by calling (212) 581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org.
Broadway Legend
ZORBA!! At last. Although how anyone can match the original cast is anyone's guess.
somethingbypuccini 2
Sad that rumors of Do I Hear a Waltz? aren't true, but Paint Your Wagon is a pretty exciting alternative.
Brave Sir Robin2
Broadway Legend
Zorba! I'd love to see Lesli Margherita as the Maria Karnilova role.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
Lady, Be Good, which opens the season Feb. 4, 2015, "ushered in the Golden Age of Broadway, from the mid-’20s until the early ’40s, when Broadway musicals were opportunities for great songwriters, great songs, and great performers," according to City Center.

Is it just me, or did they redefine the Golden Age of Broadway?
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
Paolo Szot as Zorba! Linda Emond as Mme. Hortense!
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
I REEEEEALLY want Marc Kudisch to do ZORBA again.
Leading Actor
AHHHH! So excited for Paint Your Wagon!!
-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
I'm excited for Paint Your Wagon and Zorba. Lady Be Good will probably turn out to be a lot of fun, but it feels like a very safe choice for them.

I love the opening number of Paint Your Wagon so much! I wonder who they'll cast in the Olga San Juan role? Her songs are so belty and fun.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Broadway Legend
I remember many years ago rumor that the book for PAINT YOUR WAGON was being given a re-boot. Love the score! And ZORBA is wonderful news!
"It's now rather very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that'. As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning, no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that'. Well, so f**king what?"--Stephen Fry
Chorus Member
In what sense is LADY BE GOOD a "safe choice"?? A 1925 musical in a now-unfamiliar style, never revived (anywhere), dependent on just the right casting to reach an audience now (if it can), admittedly with a great Gershwin score. I'd say it's the most daring choice they've made... maybe ever. It's the earliest they've ever gone chronologically, and the earliest they're likely to go. I really don't understand this description.
Broadway Legend
I know it's not a huge change, but it does change the tone--so I hope they use the original Zorba not the revision (I assume they will.) I love Zorba so much, and am a big fan of Paint Your Wagon's score.

Wasn't Lady Be Good's score reconstructed already for that recording a while back?
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
To bad Waltz did not make the cut this time.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
Chorus Member
//Wasn't Lady Be Good's score reconstructed already for that recording a while back?//

Yes, but the original orchestrations and piano=vocal scores survive only in fragmentary form. Some of the routines on the recording had been used, if I recall right, for a regional production (Goodspeed?) and made no claim to be authentic. So any reconstruction can only be conjectural, and probably temporary. It's even possible that more source material has been discovered by now.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
I called Lady Be Good a safe choice for a couple reasons. Most of the score is very familiar and has been heard in shows like the always-produced Crazy For You and more recently Nice Work. It's not hard to sell the Encores ticket buying crowd on Fascinating Rhythm and the title song.

Encores has put on plenty of shows from this era including No, No Nanette, Girl Crazy, Pardon My English, etc. It's right and their wheelhouse and they do them very well. You can already see the big dances.

For me, doing Juno was a lot more daring.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Haven't they been trying to attach Antonio Banderas to a Zorba revival for the past five years or so? Any chance he'd make his way to City Center for this? Not sure he's my first or second choice but I'd welcome him to the musical stage again.
Broadway Legend

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