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Downtown Music Productions and Howl Gallery Present PINS AND NEEDLES


Mimi Stern-Wolfe's Downtown Music Productions will appear in a revival of Harold Rome's witty satire Pins and Needles, music direction by Stern-Wolfe, stage direction by Larry Marshall, choreography by Mercedes Ellington,Tuesday October 25, 7 PM, at the Howl Gallery, 6 East 1st Street. (All proceeds will go to the Actor's Fund and HOWL Help.) With its critically acclaimed score and lyrics, Pins and Needles, written in 1937, is a unique call for social justice and equity.

The large repertory of songs includes Sitting on Your Status Quo, Sing Me A Song of Social Significance, It's Not Cricket to Picket, Chaini Store Daisy, and Four Little Angels of Peace (representing the Japanese, Hitler, Mussolini, and Eden, later changed to Chamberlain). Skits spoofed everything from Fascist European dictators to bigots in the DAR.

Connecticut-born composer/lyricist Harold Rome (1908-1993) played piano in local dance bands and was already writing music while studying architecture and law at Yale University. Unable to find work as an architect in Depression-era America, he went on to use his musical talents to campaign against social injustice. Rome was described by one critic in the 1930's as "a Noel Coward with a social conscience." He later went on to write several other Broadway hits, including Wish You Were Here (1952), Fanny (1954), Destry Rides Again (1959), and I Can Get It For your Wholesale (1962).

Rome's musical career began as part of the labor movement with Pins and Needles in 1937, which he wrote to entertain members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The union sponsored the creation of the revue, which was premiered in 1937 at the Princess Theatre on 39th Street. It ran for over 1100 performances, breaking all Broadway records at that time and continuing until 1941. The original cast was an ensemble called the ILGWU Players - union cutters, dressmakers, embroiderers, sewing machine operators, etc. - who rehearsed after working hours. The play was so enthusiastically positive that the cast quit their day jobs and the production expanded to a full performance schedule of eight shows per week. New songs and skits were introduced every few months to keep the show topical.

Tuesday October 25, 7 PM

Howl Gallery, 6 East 1st Street

Suggested donation: $20

Reservations: ; (100% of the proceeds go directly to the Actor's Fund and HOWL Help)

Cast: Karla Simmons, Jeannine Otis, April Armstrong, Charles Baran, Michael Schilke, Larry Marshall Paul Malamphy

Music Direction: Mimi Stern-Wolfe

Stage Direction: Larry Marshall

Choreography: Mercedes Ellington

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