Photo Flash: Reprise's I LOVE MY WIFE
The 2008-2009 Reprise Theatre Company season continues with "I Love My Wife" with book and lyrics by Michael Stewart and music by Cy Coleman, December 2 to 14 at the Brentwood Theatre. Lea Thompson and Patrick Cassidy join Vicki Lewis and Jason Alexander. "I Love My Wife" will be directed by Larry Moss with choreography by Lee Martino and music direction by Michael Skloff.
"I Love My Wife" will perform Tuesday, December 2 through Sunday, December 14 (press opening December 3) at the Brentwood Theatre. For tickets, please call Ticketmaster at 213/365-3500 or visit www.reprise.org.
"I Love My Wife" is a musical with book and lyrics by two of the great veterans of musical theatre -- Michael Stewart ("Bye Bye Birdie," "Carnival," "Hello, Dolly!", "George M!", "Mack and Mabel," "42nd Street.") and music by Cy Coleman ("Wildcat," "Little Me," "Sweet Charity," "Seesaw," "On the 20th Century," "Barnum," "City of Angels," "The Will Rogers Follies" and "The Life") - with the most up to date 1977 theme - wife swapping (the title, however, gives away the show's true sentiments) - and an even more up to date novelty.
The show placed the band on stage, and made them a Greek chorus to the two couples. It dressed them up, gave them their own songs, let them comment on the action, and even made them the action.
The score runs the gamut -country and western, marching band, blues, and barrelhouse; everything except rock. Martin Gottfried in the New York Post said, "A thoroughly disarming entertainment. I can't see the harm in a healthy, well-adjusted, sentimental and cheerful musical about sex and marriage."
"I Love My Wife" plants its feet in its present - the seventies -- unfolding on Christmas Eve in suburban Trenton, New Jersey, where two married couples who have been close friends since high school find themselves contemplating a ménage-à-quatre. Walter Kerr in the New York Times said, "Then there's another good excuse for liking ‘I Love My Wife,' and even for thinking of it as a fairly daring departure: it's funny."
The original producers rushed to open the show - so as to open before "Annie" and "Side by Side by Sondheim." After seven previews, the Broadway production, directed by Gene Saks and choreographed by Onna White, opened on April 17, 1977 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran for 857 performances. The original cast included James Naughton, Joanna Gleason, Lenny Baker and Ilene Graff. During the show's run, cast replacements included Tom and Dick Smothers, Tom Wopat, Janie Sell, and in an African American version, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Hattie Winston.
The West End production opened on October 6, 1977 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it ran for 401 performances. It was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Musical of the Year.
"I Love My Wife" is the second attraction of the 2008-2009 Reprise Theatre Company season and will perform December 2 to 14 at the Brentwood Theatre. Flex and three show subscriptions are available now online at www.reprise.org or the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310/825-2101.
Larry Moss, who studied his craft with Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Warren Robertson, directs "I Love My Wife." He began his career at New York' s famed cabaret Upstairs at the Downstairs and went on to appear on Broadway in numerous productions including Joe Layton's "Drat! The Cat!," Neil Simon's "God's Favorite," directed by Michael Bennett, Burt Shevelove's "So Long 174th Street," Gerald Freedman's "The Robber Bridgegroom," and Gene Saks' "I Love My Wife."
After teaching in New York at Julliard and Circle in the Square, where he was musical director for eight years, Larry moved to Los Angeles and founded The Larry Moss Studio. It was at the studio that he directed and developed "The Syringa Tree," an original piece written and performed by Pamela Gien, which had its world premiere at Seattle ACT Rep. The Syringa Tree opened in New York in September 2000 and won the Obie Award for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award For Outstanding Solo Performance. Larry went on to direct the TV Version of "The Syringa Tree."
Larry coached Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets "(Academy Award); Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" (Academy Award); Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile" (Academy Award Nomination), and Hank Azaria in "Tuesdays With Morrie" (Emmy Award). In 1998, he directed the award-winning short film "Dos Corazones."
Choreographer Lee Martino is thrilled to be back at Reprise Theatre Company having choreographed last season's "L'il Abner" and "Damn Yankees." Lee also choreographed "On Your Toes," "Brigadoon" and "On the Town," for Reprise (all Ovation nominations for choreography), and directed several concerts for Reprise including "Reprise! Broadway's Best" and "Broadway Babies," both at the Ford Theatre. Recent work includes "Beehive" at the El Portal Theatre (2007 LADCC nominee for choreography), "The Full Monty" and the critically acclaimed West Coast Premiere of "Never Gonna Dance" for Musical Theatre West (2005 Ovation Award winner).
Other recent credits include: "I Do, I Do" (Pasadena Playhouse), "Wild Party" (MTG), "Grease" for Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities (Ovation Award nominee), "Side by Side by Sondheim" at the Pasadena Playhouse (Ovation Nomination,) direction and choreography for several large-scale dance production shows for Harley-Davidson in Denver, San Diego, and Dallas; Universal Studios' "New York Rascal Show," and Disney's "Santa Clause 3" Stage Show at the El Capitan.
Lee choreographs for several charities including: The Alzheimer's Association, The Actor's Fund, S.T.A.G.E., and Children's Hospital of Orange County. Television and Film Credits include: NBC's "Hit Me Baby One More Time," the WB's "What I Like About You," Nickelodeon's "All That," Warner Bros.' animated feature "The King and I," and Sony Pictures' "Dark Wolf. "Lee is a proud member of SSDC and holds an MFA in dance.
Music Director Michael Skloff worked in New York with the team of Marta Kauffman and David Crane, writing several critically-acclaimed and award-winning stage musicals that are still produced worldwide. Most notably, he composed the score to their stage musical adaptation of the hit movie "Arthur."
Skloff has composed/produced the scores to a number of independent films. He's worked for directors John Landis, Jason Gould, and Jason Alexander, among others. He co-produced and arranged Randy Newman's songs in the Disney movie "James and the Giant Peach," and vocally coached many celebrities through their singing performances in various films.
For television, Michael was nominated for an Emmy Award for his theme music for HBO's long-running hit comedy series "Dream On." He went on to write the theme songs and scores to a number of TV shows; most notably, the theme song and episodic score for the hit NBC comedy series "Friends." His song, "I'll Be There For You," with lyrics by Allee Willis, received an Emmy Award nomination and was #1 in Billboard Magazine on both the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts for ten weeks. Michael most recently contributed music for score of the documentary film "Blessed Is The Match," about Hannah Senesh and directed by Roberta Grossman. Michael is actively engaged in composing, conducting, songwriting, arranging, and performing primarily in Los Angeles, where he lives so happily with his wife Marta Kauffman and their three children Hannah, Sam, and Rose.
About The Cast
Jason Alexander is proud to be serving as Artistic Director for Reprise and is delighted to be working with its wonderful staff and Board of Directors. Jason is probably best known for his 9 year, award-winning stint as George Costanza on the hit TV series, "Seinfeld." However, those who know him only as George will be surprised to learn of his extensive background as an actor, director, producer, and writer. Besides "Seinfeld," his television credits include: "Bob Patterson" (prod./co-creator); "Listen Up" (prod.); the TV films of "Bye Bye Birdie," "The Man Who Saved Christmas," "Cinderella", and "A Christmas Carol;" guest appearances on "Newhart," "Friends," "Monk," "Star Trek-Voyager," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and multiple episodes of the animated series "Duckman," "Aladdin," "Dilbert," and "Dinosaurs." His film credits include: "Pretty Woman;" "White Palace;" "North;" "Dunston Checks In;" "Love, Valor, Compassion;" "Rocky and Bullwinkle," "Ira and Abby" and the upcoming, "Hachiko." Jason has starred on Broadway in the original companies of "Merrily We Roll Along;" "The Rink;" "Broadway Bound;" "Accomplice;" and "Jerome Robbins' Broadway," for which he won the Tony, Outer Critics, and Drama Desk Awards as Best Actor in a Musical. He also authored the libretto of the show, which received the Tony Award for Best Musical. On the L.A. stage, Jason has starred in "Give ‘Em Hell, Harry;" "Defiled;" the long-running hit of "The Producers" with Martin Short and the very first Reprise production, "Promises, Promises." Jason has directed in every medium: Television ("Seinfeld," "Remember WENN," "Campus Ladies," "Everybody Hates Chris"); Film ("For Better or Worse" and "Just Looking") and Stage ("The God of Hell" at the Geffen; "Sunday In The Park With George" and the newly adapted "Damn Yankees" at Reprise and countless benefits). Jason produced the films, "Agent Cody Banks" and its sequel as well as the TV special "Ultimate Trek." He has also authored the children's book, "Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy?" He has won the title of Parlour Magician of the Year at the prestigious Magic Castle and he is a noted player in the celebrity poker circuit. Jason resides in L.A. with his wife Daena and their children, Gabriel and Noah.
Patrick Cassidy (Wally) appeared on Broadway as Julian Marsh in "42nd Street," in Elton John's "Aida" (as well as the national tour for which he won the 2002 National Broadway Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Touring Musical), "Annie Get Your Gun," "Pirates of Penzance," and "Leader of the Pack." He originated the role of the Balladeer in Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" at Playwrights Horizons and appeared in "Lady in the Dark" at City Center's Encores! National tours include Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in 2000 and again in 2006. Regionally, he has been seen in "Conrack" (Helen Hayes nomination) at Ford's Theatre, "Martin Guerre" at the Hartford Stage, and "The End of the Day" at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Los Angeles appearances include: "Threepenny Opera" for Reprise (Garland Award for Best Actor in a Musical); Bobby in "Company" with Carol Burnett; "Love Letters;" and "Assassins" (LATC). Other theatre credits include: "The Robber Bridegroom," "Little Shop of Horrors," and "Camelot." His films include "Longtime Companion," "I'll Do Anything," "I Won't Dance" and "Burning Love." He starred in the TV miniseries "Dress Grey" (Emmy nomination) and "Napoleon & Josephine" as well as TV movies-of-the-week "Oklahoma City," "Something in Common," "Christmas Eve," "How the West Was Fun," and "Follow Your Heart." He was also a series regular on NBC's "Bay City Blues," CBS' "Dirty Dancing," HBO's "Perversions of Science" and the WB's "Smallville." He has Guest starred on "Law & Order SVU," "Crossing Jordan," "Without a Trace," "According to Jim," and was just seen on "CSI Miami" and "ER." Patrick has just completed his one-man show entitled "Just Act Normal." Through music and stories, he reflects growing up in a home where every single person around the dinner table is in Show Business.
Vicki Lewis (Cleo) Vicki starred as Beth on NBC's "Newsradio" for six seasons and as Nora on NBC's "Three Sisters" for two seasons. She currently plays Melissa on the Fox sitcom "Til Death," just finished filming a new series for Disney entitled "Sonny With a Chance," and most recently had guest-starring roles on "Bones," "Grey's Anatomy", and "Dirt." She has had recurring roles on numerous shows including "Seinfeld," "Caroline in the City," "Murphy Brown," "Norm," "Grace under Fire," and "Home Improvement." She starred in "Bye Bye Birdie" (Tyne Daly) for ABC and in "The Huntress" for TNT. Her film work includes the upcoming "The Ugly Truth" (Spring 2009), (Katherine Heigl /Gerard Butler) "California Dreamin," "Last Day Of Summer," "Mousehunt," "Godzilla," "Pushing Tin," "I'll do Anything," and "Breakfast of Champions." She starred as Velma Kelly in the Broadway and Los Angeles productions of "Chicago," and as Gloria Thorpe in the Tony-nominated "Damn Yankees" on Broadway. She starred in "Pal Joey" at Encores! with Patti LuPone and Peter Gallagher, "The Crucible" for the Roundabout Theatre, and as a soloist with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall (conducted by the late Skitch Henderson). She can be heard on the cast recordings of "Damn Yankees," "Pal Joey", Gershwin's "Girl Crazy," "Unsung Irving Berlin", "Zing - A Little Bing," "A Broadway Christmas," and "A Hollywood Christmas." She is currently recording her own album entitled "Sleepwalking" and is collaborating on her one woman show entitled "Vicki Lewis - On The Verge." She received the 2007 Ovation Award for her performance in the world premiere of Micheal John LaChuisa's "Hotel Cest" directed by Danniel Henning at the Blank Theatre. This is her third show for Reprise. She was also seen in "My One and Only" and "City of Angels" and she was the featured musical guest for "Carol Burnett in Conversation." Her animated work includes Pixar's blockbuster "Finding Nemo," "Justice League: The New Frontier," "Wonder Woman" (2009), "Alpha and Omega" (2010), "Doctor Doolittle," "Ben 10," "Phineas and Ferb," "Penguins," "Little Man Dan and his Big Fat Hand," "King of the Hill," "Mission Hill," "Hercules," "Rugrats," "An Extremely Goofy Movie," and "Betsy's Kindergarden Adventures." She is set to star in and produce the upcoming animated series "Vicki Vector and the Wild Wild Web." www.vickilewis.com
Lea Thompson (Monica) is best known for her roles in "Back to the Future I, II, and III" (Kid's Choice Award winner) and as the star of "Caroline in the City" (People's Choice and TV Guide Award Winner.) Other film credits include "Some Kind of Wonderful," "All the Right Moves," "Howard the Duck," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Space Camp," "Dennis the Menace," "Article 99," "Casual Sex," "Jaws 3-D," "Red Dawn," "The Wizard of Loneliness," "The Little Rascals," "The Wild Life," "The Unknown Cyclist," "Fish Don't Blink," "Come Away Home, California Dreaming, Doubting Thomas, Exit Speed, Balancing the Books, Splinterheads," and just wrapped "The Mrs. Clause." Television movie credits include: "The Substitute Wife," "Stolen Babies," "The Right to Remain Silent," "The Unspoken Truth," "Montana," "Nightbreaker," the NBC miniseries "A Will of Their Own," "Stealing Christmas," "A Life Interrupted: The Debbie Smith Story," and the Hallmark miniseries, "Final Approach." Television Series credits include: NBC's "Caroline In The City," Lifetime's "For The People," the current Mystery Movie Series on the Hallmark Channel entitled "Jane Doe," marking her directorial debut on two of these films. Theater work includes: "The Little Mermaid," "Bus Stop," "The Illusion," "Long Time Coming," "Charlie Bacon's Family," "The Trip Back Down," "Vagina Monologues," and as Sally Bowles at Studio 54 in the Broadway revival of "Cabaret." Lea can often be seen about town performing at charity events such as the Alzheimer's Association's "Night At Sardi's," Breast Cancer research's "What A Pair," the WeSpark Foundation, and others. Thompson lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Howard Deutch, and their two daughters.
About Reprise Theatre Company
Since its inception in 1997, Reprise Theatre Company has been a focus of the Los Angeles musical theatre community, producing productions of great American musicals, and a wide variety off concerts, staged-readings, special events and outreach programs. In May 2007, Jason Alexander became Artistic Director and he was joined by Susan Dietz, Producing Director.
Since its inaugural production of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Promises, Promises," which starred Mr. Alexander, Reprise has brought to the stage vibrant productions from all eras of American musical theatre including the Gershwins' "Of Thee I Sing" and "Strike Up the Band," Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," and Rodgers and Hart's "The Boys from Syracuse" and "Babes in Arms," as well as Richard Rodgers' later "No Strings." The "Golden Era" has been well represented - Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg with "Finian's Rainbow," Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe with "Brigadoon," Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green with "On the Town" and "Wonderful Town," Irving Berlin with "Call Me Madam," Robert Wright and George Forrest with "Kismet," both of the Richard Adler and Jerry Ross musicals "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees," Johnny Mercer and Gene dePaul with "Li'l Abner," Jule Styne with "Bells are Ringing," and Frank Loesser with "The Most Happy Fella."
Musical theatre reached a new peak of popularity in the sixties, along with new creative talents, and Reprise has presented shows by many of them including Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick with "She Loves Me," Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot's "Hair," Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone with "1776," Charles Adams and Lee Strouse with "Applause," Stephen Schwartz with "Pippin," Cy Coleman with "On the Twentieth Century" (libretto by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and "City of Angels" (lyrics by David Zippel), Jerry Herman with "Mack and Mabel," and three Stephen Sondheim musicals - "Company," "Sweeney Todd," and "Sunday in the Park with George."
Many of the great stage performers working today, as well as those who make their residence in primarily in Los Angeles, have appeared in Reprise shows including Scott Bakula, Christine Baranski, Brent Barrett, Orson Bean, Jodi Benson, Stephen Bogardus, Dan Butler, Len Cariou, Carolee Carmello, Vicki Carr, Anthony Crivello, Jason Danielely, Lea Delaria, Clevant Derricks, Manoel Feliciano, Rodney Gilfry, Kelsey Grammer, Harry Groener, Bob Gunton, Sam Harris, Gregory Harrison, Mimi Hines, Judy Kaye, Jane Krakowski, Marc Kudish, Judith Light, Rebecca Luker, Maureen McGovern, Joey McIntyre, Donna McKechnie, Andrea Marcovicci, Marin Mazzie, Karen Morrow, Burke Moses, Kelli O'Hara, Ken Page, Robert Picardo, David Hyde Pierce, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Roger Rees, Charles Nelson Reilly, Cathy Rigby, Douglas Sills, Rex Smith, Steven Weber, Marisa Jaret Winokur, Lillias White, Fred Willard, and Rachel York.
Brentwood Theatre, on the Veterans Administration grounds 11301 Wilshire Boulevard, Brentwood, CA
Photo credit: JohnGanun.com