Jim Dale and Robert Cuccioli to Headline Ziegfeld Society's HERE'S LOVE TO THE MUSIC MAN Meredith Willson Tribute
Tony Award winner Jim Dale and Tony nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Robert Cuccioli headline in HERE'S LOVE TO THE MUSIC MAN: A Celebration of Songwriter Meredith Willson, the opening event of The Ziegfeld Society's ninth Season, honoring the 60th Anniversary of THE MUSIC MAN which received the 1958 Tony Award for Best Musical, and its legendary creator, Meredith Willson.
Hosted, written and directed by Tony nominee and Theatre World Award winner Walter Willison, Artistic Director of The Ziegfeld Society. The holiday musical tribute will be presented for one performance only, on Saturday, December 9th at 3:00pm at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Theater, 120 West 46th Street, New York City.
HERE'S LOVE TO THE MUSIC MAN will include songs from Meredith Willson's Broadway musicals HERE'S LOVE (the musical version of the film Miracle on 34th Street), THE UNSINKABLE Molly Brown, and Willson's popular songs including "May The Good Lord Bless and Keep You", "You and I", "I See the Moon", and "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", as well as songs from THE MUSIC MAN "Till There Was You" and "Seventy-Six Trombones", honoring the 60th Anniversary of that landmark Broadway musical. One of the highlights will be "Ask Not", the rarely heard tribute composed by Willson in memory of his friend, President John F. Kennedy.
Tony Award and Drama Desk Award winner Jim Dale (JUST Jim Dale, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, SCAPINO) and Tony nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Robert Cuccioli (JEKYLL AND HYDE, SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, LES MISERABLES) star alongside Cheryl Ann Allen, Aaron Lee Battle, Katie Dixon (CATS), John Drinkwater, Matthew Drinkwater, Shana Farr, Elise Godfrey, Melinda Hopkins, Joanna Rush (KICK), Cynthia Thomas (AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' starring The Pointer Sisters, MEMPHIS), Sheila Wormer, Carole & Paula (Carole Demas and Paula Janis, the stars of the popular long running WPIX-TV show "The Magic Garden"), "The City Sliders": Alex Jeun, Nate Sutton, Gina Trombetta, and The Gotham Four: Anderson Daniel, Rafi Hasib, BJ Hillnick and Richard Townsend, from Voices of Gotham, the 10th highest rated barbershop quartet organization in the world.
The Meredith Willson tribute is hosted, written and directed by Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award winner Walter Willison (GRAND HOTEL, TWO BY TWO, PIPPIN), with musical direction and special arrangements by Executive Producer and TZS co-founder Mark York (Jim Dales' on stage sidekick and accompanist in JUST Jim Dale).
Broadway legend Jim Dale received a Tony Award for BARNUM as well as Tony Award nominations for THE THREEPENNY OPERA (2006), CANDIDE (1997), JOE EGG (1985) and SCAPINO (1975). He is a two-time Grammy winner and six-time Grammy nominee for his narration of all seven Harry Potter audiobooks. His numerous other honors include a Drama Desk Award, four more Drama Desk nominations, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his song "Georgy Girl", and a 1973 BAFTA nomination. His most recent New York appearance was as the star of The Roundabout's acclaimed production of JUST Jim Dale, which went on to achieve further success at The Vaudeville Theater in London's The West End.
Meredith Willson was one of the most popular and acclaimed songwriters, conductors, arrangers and radio and TV personalities of the 20th Century. Born in Mason City, Iowa (immortalized in THE MUSIC MAN as River City), he traveled the United States three times with John Phillip Sousa, played flute and piccolo for the New York Philharmonic under Toscanini, conducted symphony orchestras, wrote best-selling books, composed symphonies and wrote pop tunes that rose to number one on the Hit Parade. He gained a wide reputation as a musical director in radio and eventually hosted his own shows: "Meredith Willson's Sparkle Time", "Meredith Willson's Show Room", "The Meredith Willson Show", "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show", and "The Big Show" starring Tallulah Bankhead, arranging, conduction and writing for a who's who of the world's most beloved stage and film stars of the 20th Century. His six published books, three of the autobiographies, include "But He Doesn't Know the Territory", an odyssey of THE MUSIC MAN's trek to Broadway.
Meredith Willson's many honors include The Tony Award, Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Big Brother Award, presented to him by President John F. Kenney in 1962. He received two Academy Award nominations, for his scores for Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940) and William Wyler's The Little Foxes (1941). And he received the first Grammy Award ever presented for Best Original Cast Album. Willson was also a familiar face to TV audiences in the 50s and 60s.
THE MUSIC MAN, Meredith Willson's most famous work, premiered on Broadway in 1957, starring Robert Preston and Barbara Cook, and was adapted twice for film, starring Preston and Shirley Jones in 1961, and Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenowith in 2003. A new, live TV broadcast, to possibly star Seth MacFarlane, is currently in development. The hit ballad from that show, "Till There Was You", has the distinction of being the only Broadway showtune ever recorded by The Beatles.
The creative team for HERE'S LOVE TO THE MUSIC MAN also includes costume coordinator Mitchell Bloom, production stage manager Mark Lord, technical director Elisa De Gregorio, sound design by Justin Hernandez, lighting design by DeAndria Ekong, and assistant stage manager Joseph Vanacore.
The Ziegfeld Society's 2017-2018 season continues on January 27th with Carole Demas (GREASE, TV's The Magic Garden) and Sarah Rice (SWEENEY TODD) in THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE featuring the music & lyrics of Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt (THE FANTASTICKS, 110 IN THE SHADE, I DO, I DO) followed on February 24th by Loni Ackerman (EVITA, CATS) in FANNY AT THE FOLLIES: A Fanny Brice Fantasma; cabaret legend Steve Ross in RIDIN' HIGH: Steve Ross' Cole Porter Revue on March 24th; Lee Horwin (The Tonight Show, ON THE TOWN) in BLUES, BALLADS AND SIN SONGS: The Legend of Libby Holman on April 28th; and two more very special events to be announced on May 19th and June 30th. Full casting for the entire season will be announced in 2018.
All proceeds from admission to this one time only performance will benefit The Ziegfeld Society of New York City, a not-for-profit organization that aspires to enlighten, entertain and educate current and future generations of theatergoers and young artists about the legendary performers, songwriters and creators of our vast musical theater heritage. TZS presents monthly performances featuring Broadway stalwarts performing alongside young up-and-coming artists, as well as presentations by authors and screenings of lost film and television musicals, for seniors, students and the public at modest, affordable prices.
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Theater at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School (formerly The High School for Performing Arts immortalized in "Fame") is at 120 West 46th Street. Comfortable wide seating, wheel chair accessible, and located in the heart of the theatre district, between Broadway and 6th Avenue.
Tickets for the HERE'S LOVE TO THE MUSIC MAN: A Celebration of Songwriter Meredith Willson are $25 for General Admission, $17 for Seniors, and $12 for Students. All contributions are tax deductible. For reservations, call 917-371-5509 or visit www.theziegfeldsociety.com.
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