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Callaway, D'Abruzzo, Hocking Star in Oh, What a Lovely War! Readings, Sept. 26 & 27

A troop of Broadway leading ladies will march into two industry readings of the Broadway-bound Oh, What a Lovely War!, the satirical anti-war revue that was a hit in the sixties.  The readings will be held on September 26th at 8 PM and Septmeber 27th at 2 PM at the York Theatre (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street).

Unlike the original production, thirteen actresses will create ninety roles in the show.  Stephanie Beatriz, Beth Beyer, Liz Callaway (Baby, Miss Saigon), Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Avenue Q), Nikki Renée Daniels (The Look of Love, Nine), Leah Hocking (Dance of the Vampires, The Wild Party), Emily Hsu, Isabel Keating (The Boy from Oz, Enchanted April), Liz McCartney (Taboo, Mamma Mia!), Gina Milo (Les Miserables), Paige Price (Saturday Night Fever, Beauty and the Beast), Haviland Stillwell (Fiddler on the Roof) and Kate Weatherhead (Spelling Bee) will headline the readings, which will be directed by Sharon Rosen.  Rosen, with the New York Musical Theatre Festival, is the producer as well.

Oh What a Lovely War "is a satiric chronicle of the First World War told through songs and images of the period...it examines the human side of war through witty scenes and parody songs.  A high-spirited evening set as a Pierrot show, the ensemble jump from role to role to tell the stories of people affected by war," as the show is described in production notes.  Oh What a Lovely War features a book by Joan Littlewood, Charles Chilton and Theatre Workshop, Inc. and features popular music from the time period, including such standards as "Pack Up Your Troubles," "Goodbye-ee" and "Keep The Home Fires Burning."

Rosen is aiming Oh, What a Lovely War for a Broadway production during the 2006-2007 season.  The show will feature musical direction by John Randall, scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Therese Bruck and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald.

Oh What a Lovely War was first performed by Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London in 1963.  That same year, after receiving critical and popular acclaim in London, the musical won the Grand Prix of the Théâtre des Nations festival in Paris.  Legendary producer David Merrick brought the production to New York, and it opened at Broadhurst Theatre on September 30, 1964.  The production received four Tony nominations that season, including Best Musical, Best Direction (for Ms. Littlewood), Best Featured Actress (for Barbara Windsor) and Best Featured Actor for Victor Spinetti, who won the award.

In 1969, Sir Richard Attenborough made his directorial debut with the Golden Globe Award-winning film version of the musical, which boasted Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm and Susannah York in its cast.

For more information about Oh What a Lovely War, please call Snug Harbor Productions at 212-354-6510.


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