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Mazzie & Sills to Feud in On the Twentieth Century Concert

Marin Mazzie and Douglas Sills have been cast as the tempestuous leads in the Actors' Fund of America's benefit concert of On the Twentieth Century, which will play the New Amsterdam Theatre on September 26th.

Mazzie will play the glamorous movie star Lily Garland, who meets ex-flame director Oscar Jaffe (Sills) on board the luxe train of the title. Having once lifted her from lowly audition pianist to Broadway star, the down-on-his-luck Oscar now wants her to return to the stage (in a dramatization of the life of Mary Magdalene) and to return to him--of course, not before a full-scale battle of wills is waged between the two. Brooks Ashmanskas (Gypsy, The Producers) and Brad Oscar (The Producers, Jekyll & Hyde) have respectively been cast as Oscar's yes-men Owen O'Malley and Oliver Webb, and Christopher Sieber (Chicago, Into the Woods) will play Lily's himbo lover Bruce Granit.

On The Twentieth Century, which is considered by some musical theatre scholars to be the last truly classic musical comedy, boasts a screwball-operetta score by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green; Comden and Green based their book on the original play by Bruce Millholland and on Ben Hecht's and Charles MacArthur's screenplay of the classic 1934 film Twentieth Century (which starred a self-parodic John Barrymore and Carole Lombard). The original production, which opened on February 19th, 1978 at the St. James Theatre, starred Madeline Kahn, John Cullum and Kevin Kline. The two actors would win Tonys and Kahn was nominated; the musical also picked up Tonys for its score, book and for Robin Wagner's scenic design, which famously featured a moving art deco train. Harold Prince was also nominated for directing the musical, which ran for 449 performances.

Peter Flynn will helm the Actors' Fund's staging of On the Twentieth Century; it will be choreographed by Denis Jones and Tim Pinckney will take care of the concert adaptation. As he did for the preceding Actors' Fund concerts (such as Funny Girl, Chess and Dreamgirls), Seth Rudetsky will serve as the Artistic Producer in addition to handling the musical direction. The concert will feature sets by Paul Weimer, costumes by Rob Bevenger, lighting by Jeff Croiter and sound by Scott Stauffer.

Marin Mazzie previously played a temperamental diva who feuds with a ex-love--Lilli Vanessi in the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate; she received a Tony nomination for her work. She was also nominated for her performances in Passion and Ragtime, and other Broadway credits include Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods and Big River. Sills garnered a Tony nomination for his flamboyant performance as Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel (and won a Theatre World Award for the portrayal); he last appeared on Broadway as Dr. Orin Scrivello in Little Shop of Horrors.

A 2004 Roundabout revival of the play Twentieth Century starred Anne Heche as Lily and Alec Baldwin as Oscar.

Tickets for On the Twentieth Century range in price from $75 to $2,500 and can be purchased by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 133 or visiting www.actorsfund.org.
 


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