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Chenoweth, Henshall, Etc. Set for Stairway to Paradise

Stairway to Paradise, an original Encores! production celebrating the great Broadway revue, will star Kristin Chenoweth, Kevin Chamberlin, Christopher Fitzgerald and Ruthie Henshall, from May 10 - 14 at New York City Center. Directed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks, Stairway to Paradise has music direction by Rob Berman and choreography by Warren Carlyle. It will play for six performances, from May 10 - 14. Monday, May 14 is a special gala benefit performance for New York City Center.

In addition to Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Kevin Chamberlin (Chicago, Seussical), Christopher Fitzgerald (Gutenberg! The Musical!, Wicked) and Ruthie Henshall (Putting It Together, West End Chicago), the cast includes Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan), Michael Gruber (Kiss Me, Kate), Shonn Wiley (Dracula), J. MarkMcVey (Les Miserables), Holly Cruikshank (Movin' Out), KendRick Jones and Capathia Jenkins (Fame Becomes Me).

Stairway to Paradise, the first-ever specially created Encores! production, will be a celebration of the very best material from a half century of Broadway revues, and will include numbers and sketches from such classic Broadway shows as The Band Wagon, As Thousands Cheer, Pins and Needles, Call Me Mister, The Garrick Gaieties, New Faces of 1952 and other legendary musicals and revues of the era. Such classic songs as "Manhattan," "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?," "This is the Army Mr. Jones," "Suppertime" and "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan" will be featured.

"Between 1900 and 1950, while Broadway book musicals were morphing from operetta to musicalcomedy to the musical plays of Rodgers and Hammerstein, there existed an equally thrilling profusion of Broadway revues - plotless, bookless, sketch-driven shows featuring girls, gags, star comedians like Bert Lahr and Fanny Brice, and some of the finest popular songs ever written. Ziegfeld was the king of therevue, but hundreds of imitators and emulators followed his lead. Revues were conceived as topical, disposable entertainment, mixing political and social satire with popular song and dance crazes. In Ziegfeld's shows the comedians delivered short sketches, star vocalistsappeared in fabulous gowns and gorgeous showgirls paraded across a series of spectacular stage designs. Competing with the opulence of Ziegfeld's Follies were a series of smaller, slyer, more biting politicalrevues with more serious, if often satirical points of view. Virtually all of the great songwriters ofBroadway, from Irving Berlin and the Gershwins to Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Harold Rome, Schwartz and Dietz, Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg provided the songs," state press materials.

The show runs: Thursday, May 10, 8:00 p.m. Friday, May 11, 8:00 p.m.Saturday, May 12, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Sunday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. (Benefit Performance).  Tickets for the 2007 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 Tickets for the Orchestra, Grand Tier are $95; Mid-Mezzanine tickets are $90; tickets for the Rear Mezzanine and Front Gallery are $50; tickets for the Rear Gallery are $25.

Photo of Ruthie Henshall by Ben Strothmann

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