Mazzie and Stokes Mitchell to Co-Star in Encores! Kismet, Feb. 2006

By: Sep. 15, 2005
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Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell, who have teamed up in theatrical locales as diverse as turn-of-the-century New York, an out-of-town Baltimore stage and 16th century Spain, will now move to an Arabian Nights-esque Baghdad for the Encores! staged concert production of the operetta Kismet, which will run at City Center from February 9th through 12th, 2006.

Stokes Mitchell will play the poet Hajj, while Mazzie will play the seductive and brassy Lalume in the lushly romantic show, which will be directed by Lonny Price (and not the previously-announced Kathleen Marshall). Kismet, based on a play by Edward Knoblock, boasts a score by Robert Wright and George Forrest (Song of Norway, Anya, Grand Hotel), who adapted the score from themes by Alexander Borodin. The book is by
Charles Lederer and Luther Davis.

Kismet, which opened on December 3rd, 1953, received the 1954 Tony Award for Best Musical. Starring Alfred Drake, Richard Kiley and Dolores Gray, it ran for 583 performances. A 1955 MGM film version with Gray and Howard Keel followed, and in revised form, it ran on Broadway in 1978 with Eartha Kitt and Melba Moore. Renamed Timbuktu, it was set in Africa.

Stokes Mitchell made his Broadway debut in the musical Mail in 1988. Ten years later, he skyrocketed to fame as the martyred pianist Coalhouse in Ragtime. He was nominated for a Best Actor Tony, but won for his work as Fred/Petruchio in the 1999 Kiss Me Kate revival. He was also nominated for his performance as Don Quixote in his last Broadway outing, the 2002 revival of Man of La Mancha (the latter three teamed him with Mazzie, with Mazzie succeeding Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in La Mancha). Other Broadway credits include Oh, Kay!, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and August Wilson's drama King Hedley II; he also appeared in Do Re Mi and Carnival at Encores! He is best-known to TV audiences for having starred on "Trapper John, M.D.," and he has also been seen on "Frasier" and in "Roots." Stokes Mitchell recently appeared at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of South Pacific.

Marin Mazzie played temperamental diva 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. At Encores!, she appeared in Out of This World, and her off-Broadway credits include The Vagina Monologues, The Trojan Women: A Love Story and And the World Goes Round. Regional credits include 110 in the Shade and Brigadoon, both opposite husband Jason Daniely.

Kander and Ebb's 70, Girls, 70 and a musical that has not yet been announced will follow Kismet at Encores!, which specializes in concert productions of shows that are not frequently produced (though Bye Bye Birdie and others have been exceptions to that general rule).

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