BCCM to Present NEW GIRL IN TOWN, 9/4-7
Bayou City Concert Musicals opens its 2014-15 season with the 1957 George Abbott musical version of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, New Girl in Town, for five performances at the Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, September 4-7, 2014. The fully-staged concert musical production will mark the premiere of New Girl in Town in Houston. New Girl in Town was nominated for five Tony Awards in 1958 and won two...both for best performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
"That was a first," says BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope, "but Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter both deserved the award. The two roles, Anna and Marthy, are two of the best female roles ever written for the musical stage and we are thrilled to have two women in BCCM's production who will do the roles justice."
Krissy Richmond, former principal dancer with the Houston Ballet, is a perfect fit for the role of Anna. After her retirement from the ballet, Richmond moved to New York City where she built a successful career on Broadway. Since her return to Houston, she has performed in a number of local productions, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for BCCM, and has become one of Houston's most sought-after choreographers. She is also the dance teacher at the Kinkaid School.
The role of Marthy, Anna's father's companion who knows Anna's secrets all too well, will be played by Marijane Vandiver. A fine actress who now lives in the Austin area, Vandiver is probably best remembered by Houston audiences of a certain age as the Marijane of "Marijane's Magic Castle," a local children's television program in the 1960s. Vandiver has not appeared in a BCCM show since Follies in 1999.
The part of Anna's father Chris will be played by veteran Alley Theatre company member and Houston favorite, Charles Krohn, who won rave reviews as Finian in BCCM's 2012 production of Finian's Rainbow.
Another popular Houston actor, John Gremillion, will play Matt, the sailor who steals Anna heart. "This is John's first appearance in a BCCM concert musical since Assassins in 2005, and we're delighted to have this talented actor and singer back with us," says Hope.
Based on O'Neill's Anna Christie, New Girl in Town follows the original story of Anna, an ex-prostitute who comes to live with her father, Chris, a former sailor who knows nothing of her past. She meets and falls in love with sailor Matt Burke. Anna seems to be on her way to a normal life when Marthy, Chris's jealous companion, spills the beans about Anna's former life. But this being a George Abbott show, the gloom and doom of the original is downplayed and the show is essentially a romantic love story surrounded by a musical comedy.
The music and lyrics for New Girl in Town were written by a newcomer to the Broadway stage, Bob Merrill, who at the time was best known writing the novelty song, "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" Of course, Merrill went on to a stellar Broadway career, including his most famous work, Funny Girl.
Proceeds from Bayou City Concert Musicals' production of New Girl in Town will benefit the Tim Harris Memorial Fund, which supports local musicians who have suffered catastrophic illness or injury.
Bayou City Concert Musicals will round out its 2014-15 season with two cabaret productions at the Performance Centre at the Ensemble Theatre. The first, in February 2015,will feature the songs of one of America's favorite songwriters, Cole Porter, and the second, in May 2015, will focus on the works of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Specific dates for these cabarets will be announced at a later date.