Melissa Errico & More Set for Symphony Space's KURT WEILL ON BROADWAY Today
Symphony Space opens its 2013-14 Music season with 'Kurt Weill on Broadway,' tonight, October 7 (8 pm) at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Weill's One Touch of Venus. Ted Chapin hosts a stellar cast featuring Melissa Errico, Brent Barrett, Judy Blazer, and Ron Raines, plus winners of the international Lotte Lenya Competition.
The orchestra for the evening is the dynamic young ensemble Le Train Bleu. The conductor and musical director is Weill specialist James Holmes, with additional instrumental numbers conducted by Ransom Wilson; stage direction is by Richard Jay-Alexander.
Also performing are Richard Todd Adams, Doug Carpenter, Cooper Grodin, Justin Hopkins, Zachary James, Analisa Leaming, Jacob Keith Watson, and Maren Weinberger, all winners of the Lotte Lenya Competition. The Competition is an international contest that bridges the worlds of opera/operetta and Broadway musical theater and recognizes talented young singer/actors who excel dramatically and musically in a wide range of repertoire.
One Touch of Venus, with lyrics by Ogden Nash and book by S. J. Perelman and Nash, is a madcap spoof of the Pygmalion myth, revolving around a statue of Venus that comes to life when Rodney, a dimwitted New York barber, impulsively slips an engagement ring meant for his fiancée on the statue's finger.
The original Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on October 7, 1943 and closed on February 10, 1945 after 567 performances. It was directed by Elia Kazan, featured choreography by Agnes De Mille, and starred Mary Martin, Kenny Baker and Paula Laurence. Marlene Dietrich reportedly turned down the title role, calling it "too sexy and profane", which gave Martin the opportunity to establish herself as a Broadway star. Among other gems, it introduced the seductive ballad Speak Low.
The first half of the evening spotlights numbers from Venus, while the second offers selections from Lady in the Dark, Street Scene, Love Life, Knickerbocker Holiday, The Threepenny Opera, and Happy End. (Note: the program is subject to change.)
Speak Low (Kurt Weill recording accompanied by orchestra Entr'Acte from Lady in the Dark
Entr'Acte from One Touch of Venus Oh, Fabulous One (LADY IN THE DARK)
One Touch of Venus One Life to Live (LADY)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself This is New (LADY)
How Much I Love You Wouldn't You Like to Be on Broadway? (STREET SCENE)
Foolish Heart What Good Would the Moon Be? (STREET SCENE)
Way Out West in Jersey Lonely House (STREET SCENE)
West Wind I Remember It Well (LOVE LIFE)
Very, Very, Very Love Song (LOVE LIFE)
That's Him Lost in the Stars (LOST IN THE STARS)
The Trouble with Women It Never Was You (KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY)
Speak Low September Song (KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY)
Mr. Right (LOVE LIFE)
Army Song (THREEPENNY OPERA)
Surabaya Johnny (HAPPY END)
Here I'll Stay (LOVE LIFE)
Brent Barrett has entertained millions of fans around the world from the stages of Broadway, the West End, concerts halls, recording studios, and television. His recent roles include Captain Hook in Peter Pan opposite Cathy Rigby, Billy Flynn in the Tony Award winning Chicago The Musical (for which he received a LA Drama Critics Award), and the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom-The Las Vegas Spectacular. Brent received an Olivier Award nomination for his starring role in the London premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate. He also starred in the City Cente r Encores! production of The Pajama Gameand as King Arthur in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Camelot. Other Broadway roles include "Frank Butler" in Annie Get Your Gun opposite Reba McEntire, "Charles Castleton" in Dance a Little Closerand "Baron Felix Von Gaigern" in Grand Hotel. Brent made his Broadway debut as "Tony" in the 1980 revival of West Side Story, which he subsequently reprised in the International Tour. Additional New York performances include "Maximillon" in the Broadway revival of Candide, and "Tommy Albright" in New York City Opera's production ofBrigadoon. In New Zealand, he appeared as "Archibald" in that country's production of The Secret Garden. On the road, Brent played "Victor Duchesi" in the pre-Broadway Tour of Busker Alley, and he starred opposite Cathy Rigby in the National Tour of Annie Get Your Gun.
Judy Blazer began her career as a young singer in opera, oratorio, and recital in New York City and throughout Italy. She moved into Broadway theater with leading roles in Me and My Girl (Sally), A Change in the Heir (Prince Conrad), Titanic (Lady Caroline), Neil Simon's 45 Seconds from Broadway (Cindy) and a major role in LoveMusik (Brecht's mistress), directed by Harold Prince. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Candide (the Old Lady) and Sweeney Todd (the Beggar Woman) with the New York City Opera, Hello Again (as the Nurse, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination) and The House of Bernarda Alba (Magdalena) for the Lincoln Center Theater, The Torch Bearers (Florence) for the Drama Department, Richard Greenberg's Hurrah at Last (Gia) at the Roundabout Theater, and the New York City Center Encores production of A Connecticut Yankee (Alice/Sandy). Judy has sung at the Metropolitan Opera as a soloist in Twyla Tharp'sEverlast with the American Ballet Theater and has performed in concert at Lincoln Center and The Public Theater in New York. Judy's film credits include song and voice characterizations for the animated films Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, and Buster and Chauncey's Silent Night. She also played a major role (Chris) in Shelly Silver's critically acclaimed art film, The Houses that Are Left. On television, Judy has been seen in Law and Order, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and as a featured artist on three PBS specials: Leonard Bernstein's New York, In Performance at the White House, and Great Performances: The Thomashefskys.
Born in Manhattan, Melissa Errico's stage credits include the 1993 revival of My Fair Lady, High Society, Amour, Dracula the Musical,andWhite Christmas. In 2004, she starred in the lauded hit production of Finian's Rainbow, winning the moniker "the voice of enchantment!" at the Irish Repertory Theater, where she also starred in The Importance of Being Earnest, Major Barbara, and Candida, earning nominations for each. She was selected by Stephen Sondheim to star in Sunday In The Park With George at The Kennedy Center, and became a favorite at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles where she starred in My Fair Lady (John Lithgow), Camelot (Jeremy Irons), and The Sound of Music" (Marni Nixon/John Schneider). Errico was a regular on the 1995 television ser ies Central Park West and has also appeared as a guest on Law & Order, Miss Match, Ed, Six Degrees, Gifted Man, and others. Her mainstream movies with leading roles include Life or Something Like It with Angelina Jolie, Frequency with Dennis Quaid, and Loverboy opposite Kyra Sedgewick, directed by Kevin Bacon. For her acclaimed performance in the title role in George Bernard Shaw's Candida, she was called "commanding" (Time Out), "beguiling and enigmatic" (Associated Press) and "gorgeous...a delight to behold" (The New York Times), earning her a Drama Desk nomination and filmed for Lincoln Center. She went on to star in the film Patrimony opposite Robert Vaughn, premiering at the Boston Film Festival and the NY International Shorts Festival. Most recently, Melissa plays Clara in the 2013 Classic Theater Company revival of Passion, directe d by John Doyle.
Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He has had a long and illustrious international career that spans the worlds of musical theater, opera, cabaret, classical music, and television. He most recently appeared as Ben in the critically acclaimed revival of Follies at The Kennedy Center, Broadway, and Los Angeles, for which he received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. He has starred on Broadway in shows such as Chicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice (with Len Cariou). He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night Music, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, So uth Pacific,Annie, Kismet, Sayonara, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, Naughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel,Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival. He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israeli Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and the Royal Festival Hall. He has appeared on four PBS "Great Performances," and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.