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Brian Stokes Mitchell & Marin Mazzie star in ENCORES! "Kismet" Feb. 9 - 12

New York City Center's 2006 Encores! Season will open on February 9 with the six-time Tony Award-winning Kismet, starring Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie. [Note: Mitchell and Mazzie have appeared together in the Broadway productions of Ragtime, Man of La Mancha and Kiss Me, Kate.] The engagement, which runs February 9 – 12, is directed by Lonnie Price, and marks Paul Gemignani's debut as Music Director.

Kismet, with a book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, founded on a play by Edward Knoblock, music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest from themes of Alexander Borodin, opened on Broadway on December 3, 1953 and ran for 583 performances, from 1953-1955, winning six Tony Awards.

Set in exotic Baghdad, Kismet is an Arabian Night-style comedy with a lush, romantic score that includes And This Is My Beloved," "Strangers in Paradise, and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads." The story takes place during a 24-hour span, during which time a Poet (Mitchell) , manages to escape the clutches of a vengeful bandit, drown the evil Wazir of Police, catch the eye of the Wazir's voluptuous wife Lalume, (Mazzie) , serve as Emir of Baghdad, and see his daughter wed to the handsome Caliph.

Brian Stokes Mitchell most recently appeared on Broadway in Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award). He received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards his performances in Kiss Me, Kate, and Tony nominations for Ragtime and August Wilson's "King Hedley II. Other performances include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly's Last Jam, and David Merrick's productions of Oh, Kay! and Mail. He starred in the Encores! productions of "Do, Re, Mi" and "Carnival."

Marin Mazzie most recently starred on Broadway as "Aldonza/Dulcinea" in Man of La Mancha. She received Tony and Drama Desk nominations and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in Kiss Me, Kate, and an Olivier Award nomination when she made her West End debut in the show. Marin received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics nominations for her performance in Ragtime, and a Tony nomination for Passion. Other performances include Into the Woods and Big River. She made her Encores! debut in Out of This World.

New York City Center Encores! (Jack Viertel, Artistic Director; Paul Gemignani, Music Director) has, since 1994, celebrated the rarely-heard works of America's most important composers and lyricists. Conceived as "concert versions," each ENCORES! Season gives three scores the chance to be heard as originally intended by their creators. Over the years, ENCORES! has presented the works of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Bock and Harnick, Burt Bacharach, Kander and Ebb, Comden and Green, and many more. The program is the recipient of a special 2000 Tony® Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, as well as a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Jujamcyn Theaters Award.

The 2006 season marks Paul Gemignani's debut as Music Director of the Encores! series, following his work as guest Music Director on Do Re Mi in 1999. One of Broadway's most respected musical directors, Gemignani worked as a Broadway pit musician before becoming replacement musical director of Stephen Sondheim's Follies (1971). Gemignani became closely identified with Sondheim's musicals, working on Pacific Overtures, Side by Side by Sondheim, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Passion. He served as Music Director and conducted the orchestras for such memorable hits as On the Twentieth Century, Evita!, Crazy For You and the acclaimed revival of Kiss Me, Kate. To date, Gemignani has served as Music Director and conductor for more than 35 Broadway productions, receiving three Grammy nominations along the way. In 2001, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.

Lead sponsorship for the NEW YORK CITY CENTER ENCORES! 2006 season is provided by NEWMAN'S OWN. Newman's Own is a premium food company headquartered in Westport, CT. Paul Newman donates all after-tax profits from the sale of Newman's Own products to educational and charitable causes. Since 1982, he has donated more than $125 million to over 2,000 charities. Newman's Own all natural line of products includes popcorn, salsa, lemonade, salad dressing, pasta sauce, and steak sauce.

Now under the direction of President and CEO Arlene Shuler, New York City Center was founded in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as Manhattan's first performing arts center, and today is the New York City home to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre's fall season, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Manhattan Theatre Club. New York City Center is host to some of America's and the world's most acclaimed performers and productions, and the producer of the Tony-honored Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert series and the annual Fall for Dance Festival.

KISMET PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
Thursday, February 9, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, February 10, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 11, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 12, 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for the 2006 ENCORES! Season are available at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix® at 212-581-1212, or online at www.nycitycenter.org. Tickets for the Orchestra, Grand Tier and Mid-Mezzanine are $90, tickets for the Rear Mezzanine and Front Gallery are $50, tickets for the Rear Gallery are $25.

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