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Darling of the Day Dawns in Fully-Staged Illinois Production, Oct. 7-Nov. 6

Darling of the Day, a musical with a Jule Styne-E.Y. Harburg score that has been something of a cult favorite due to preservation on its original cast recording, will receive its first fully-staged production since its Broadway premiere in 1968. Light Opera Works in Evanston, Illinois will open the show, which has been revised, on October 7th. Previews will begin at the McGaw YMCA Child Care Center Auditorium (1420 Maple) on October 2nd, and the production will run though November 6th.

Styne and Harburg were unhappy with the show, and licensing rights were withheld for many years; the Illinois production comes about with the permission of the estates of the show's songwriters. Erik Haagensen has revised the book (by Nunnally Johnson, based on Arnold Bennett's Buried Alive) and some of the lyrics; he has rewritten a number of the scenes and added new ones as well, drawing from both the novel Buried Alive, an adapted play version called The Great Adventure and the piece's film script, Holy Matrimony. The lyrical revisions, according to Haagensen, don't stray too far from Harburg's originals. Haagensen's version of the show, while not as extensively revised as it is now, received a staged reading in 1998 at the York Theatre Company and returned to the same company this year in a well-received Musicals in Mufti concert production; it starred Rebecca Luker, Beth Fowler and Simon Jones.

A number of songs will be changed as well. "Putney on the Thames" and "That Stranger in Your Eyes," both cut from the Broadway production, have been reinstated, while "Money, Money, Money" and "I've Got a Stranger Working for Me" have been cut. Harburg's earlier lyrics for "That Extra Something Special" have been put into the song, and it is now known as "A Little Extra Shilling."

"Darling of the Day tells the story of Priam Farll, an eccentric expatriate painter who returns to England to be knighted after a long absence. The untimely death of his butler leads to confusion concerning who actually died. Farll seizes this opportunity to live in anonymity as his deceased butler. While in disguise, he not only falls in love with a widow from Putney, but also must avoid a suspicious art dealer who is determined to unmask our hero," according to press notes.

The Illinois production will be helmed by artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller (who choreographs as well), and will feature Roger Mueller as Priam Farll, Mary Ernster as Alice Challice, Jon Steinhagen as art dealer Clive Oxford, and Maggie Clennon Reberg as Lady Margaret Vale. Roger L. Bingaman will serve as the production's musical director, while Larry Moore has contributed new five-piece orchestrations. Elizabeth Shaffer (costumes), Jessica Kuehnau (sets) and Andrew H. Meyers (lights) are included in the show's design team.

The original Broadway production of Darling of the Day opened at the George Abbott Theatre on January 27th, 1968 and closed after 4 previews and 31 regular performances. While the show was not a success, Patricia Routledge netted the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Vincent Price was her co-star.

Tickets can be ordered by calling the Light Opera Works box office at (847) 869-6300 or visiting

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