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Encores Casting for Of Thee I Sing Announced

New York City Center Encores! concludes its 2006 season with George and Ira Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing, the uproarious 1931 satire of love and politics, starring Victor Garber as John P. Wintergreen, the National Party's candidate for President of the United States. Directed by John Rando, with Music Direction by Paul Gemignani, Of Thee I Sing will play for six performances, from May 11 - 15. Monday, May 15 is a special gala performance for New York City Center.

Of Thee I Sing, with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, and book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, opened on Broadway in 1931, and was the first Broadway musical to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play opens in an election year, as the National Party campaigns for their presidential nominee, John P. Wintergreen, running on a platform based on love. The score includes "Love is Sweeping the Country," "Who Cares," and "Of Thee I Sing (Baby)."

The cast also includes Jefferson Mays as the highly forgettable Vice President Throttlebottom, Jennifer Laura Thompson as the muffin-baking Mary Turner, Jonathan Freeman (Senator Lyons), Erick Devine (Senator Jones), Michael Mulheren (Fulton), Lewis J. Stadlen (Lippman), David Pittu (the French Ambassador), Wayne Duvall (Gilhoohey), Jeffry Denman (Sam Jenkins) as well as Eric Michael Gillett, Holly Holcomb, Todd A. Horman, Fred Inkley, Jay Lusteck, Ian Knauer, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Marcus Nance, Nina Negri, Greg Stone and Jacqueline Thompson. The role of Diana Devereaux is still to be cast.

This production of New York City Center Encores! Of Thee I Sing is made possible by The Ira & Lenore Gershwin Philanthropic Fund, and Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Victor Garber was nominated for Tony awards for his work in Damn Yankees, Lend Me A Tenor, Deathtrap and the 1985 revival of Little Me. Other credits include the original Broadway casts of Arcadia, Noises Off and Sweeney Todd. Movie-goers know him from performances in James Cameron's Titanic, The First Wives Club, Sleepless in Seattle and Legally Blonde. He was nominated for Emmy Awards for his work on the ABC miniseries "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," and "Alias."

Jefferson Mays won Tony, Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards for his performance in Doug Wright's Tony and Pulitzer-winning one-man Broadway show I Am My Own Wife. Other New York appearances include Moe's Lucky Seven at Playwrights Horizons, Lydie Breeze; and Quills and Culture of Desire at New York Theater Workshop. A two-time Obie Award winner, Mays has appeared in productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory, the McCarter Theater, Center Stage and more.

Jennifer Laura Thompson received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Hope Cladwell in the original Broadway company of Urinetown, originated the role of Ariel Moore in the Broadway production of Footloose, and has appeared as Glinda in Wicked and Off-Broadway in Michael John LaChuisa's Little Fish. Her previous Encores! credits include Pardon My English and Strike Up the Band!

Lewis J. Stadlen made his 1969 Broadway bow as young Julius Marx--alias Groucho--in the musical comedy Minnie's Boys, for which he won both a Theatre World and Drama Desk Awards. Subsequent New York theatre credits included Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, the hit revival of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and revivals of The Man Who Came to Dinner, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and The Odd Couple.

Jeffry Denman can currently been seen on Broadway in The Producers. His previous Broadway credits include How to Succeed…, Cats and Dream. He is the choreographer of the long-running off Broadway musical, Naked Boys Singing.

Erick Devine's Broadway credits include Seussical, Ragtime and Cats.

Wayne Duvall's many movie credits include Apollo 13, The Deep End of the Ocean and The Hard Rain. His television credits include appearances on "The X-Files," "Profiler" "Chicago Hope" and "Diagnosis Murder," and he appeared in several highly rated movies-of-the-week.

Jonathan Freeman's Broadway credits include 42nd Street, On the Town, How to Succeed…, She Loves Me (Tony nomination), and Sherlock Holmes. His other New York credits include Finian's Rainbow at the Irish Rep., Sail Away at Carnegie Hall, A Class Act at Manhattan Theatre Club and the Encores! production of Li'l Abner.

Michael Mulheren's Broadway credits include The Boy from Oz; Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama Desk nominations) and Titanic. He is currently appearing Off Broadway in The God Committee at the Lamb's Theatre, and has appeared in Captains Courageous, Floyd Collins, Jack's Holiday and The Fantasticks.

David Pittu appeared in A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall at Primary Stages, played Harry in the recent revival of Company during the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration, and Leo Frank in Parade, directed by Harold Prince, for which he received the 2001 National Broadway Award as Best Actor in a Musical.

John Rando's Broadway credits include the current production of The Wedding Singer and Urinetown, (Tony Award for Best Director). His other New York credits include The Dinner Party, A Thousand Clowns and Polish Joke. His previous Encores! credits include Strike up the Band, Do Re, Mi and The Pajama Game.

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 Award 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 Encores! Music Director. 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 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.

"OF THEE I SING" PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

Thursday, May 11, 8:00 p.m.

Friday, May 12, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 14, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m. (Benefit Performance)

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. Tickets for the May 15 Gala are available by calling 212-763-1205.


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