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'Oh What A Lovely War' Pre-Broadway Readings To Feature Callaway, D'Abruzzo, Hocking, Keating, McCartney And More

Sharon Rosen announced today in a release that the cast for the pre-Broadway industry readings of the first North American revival of OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR is set. 

The readings for this revival of the acclaimed 1964 Broadway musical, directed by Ms. Rosen, will feature an all-female cast that includes Beth Beyer (The Sound of Music National Tour), Andrea Burns (The Full Monty), Tony nominee Liz Callaway (Baby), Tony nominee Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Avenue Q), Nikki Renée Daniels (Nine), Leah Hocking (All Shook Up), Emily Hsu (Spamalot), Tony nominee Isabel Keating (The Boy From Oz), Liz McCartney (Taboo), Gina Milo (Les Misérables) and Kate Wetherhead  ( . . . Spelling Bee).  The revival is planned to arrive on Broadway during the 2006-2007 theatre season.

Two industry readings will be presented by Sharon Rosen Productions, in partnership with The New York Musical Theatre Festival, at The York Theatre (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street) on Monday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday, September 27 at 2:00 p.m.

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR is a satiric chronicle of the First World War told through songs and images of the period.  One of the most produced plays in the United Kingdom, OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR examines the human side of war through witty scenes and parody songs.  A high-spirited evening set as a Pierrot show, the ensemble jump from role to role to tell the stories of people affected by war.  OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR has a book by Joan Littlewood, Charles Chilton and Theatre Workshop, Inc. and features popular music from the time period, including such standards as Pack Up Your Troubles, Goodbye-ee and Keep The Home Fires Burning.

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR features musical direction by John Randall and will have scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Therese Bruck and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald. The casting for the reading is by Mark Simon. 

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR was first performed by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London in 1963.  That same year, after receiving critical and popular acclaim in London, the musical won the Grand Prix of the Théâtre des Nations festival in Paris.  Legendary producer David Merrick brought the production to New York, and it opened at Broadhurst Theatre on September 30, 1964.  The production received four Tony nominations that season, including Best Musical, Best Direction (for Ms. Littlewood), Best Featured Actress (for Barbara Windsor) and Best Featured Actor for Victor Spinetti, who won the award.

In 1969, Sir Richard Attenborough made his directorial debut with the Golden Globe Award-winning film version of the musical, which boasted an impressive cast that included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm and Susannah York, among others.

Unlike the original production of OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR, Ms. Rosen's revival will be cast entirely with women and the cast will create approximately 90 characters.  According to Ms. Rosen, "Casting entirely with women allows those that were left behind to tell the story.  The women will take on each character as written, which brings a great deal of humility, truth and irony to the piece.  Although WWI began over 90 years ago, the nature of war has hardly changed.  With light-hearted parody and realistic facts and projected photos, the satire in OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR rings true and deep, even in these modern times."

SHARON ROSEN (Producer, Director) co-produced the Off-Broadway staging of The Tricky Part, which received an OBIE Award as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle nominations.  She was one of the original producers of They Wrote What? The Music of Mann/Weil.  Sharon produced and directed the Las Vegas premiere of Always . . . Patsy Cline, starring Sally Struthers.  The show won Best Production honors.  Sharon also produced and directed the Los Angeles premiere of this show, which ran at The Coronet and The Laguna Playhouse.  Her U.S. premiere production of Slow Love earned her seven Drama-Logue awards, including Critics' Choice and Best Production, and her LA premiere of David Budbill's Judevine brought her three more.  In New York she produced and directed the world premiere of Drowning in Euphoria at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre.  Sharon produced the Los Angeles production of RUMI with Paul Sills.  Other productions include The Portrait Norman Rockwell Forgot to Paint, Waterworks, Echoes, Triplet and All I Want for Christmas.   In 1990, Sharon founded the Silk Rd. Theatre Company, a non-profit theatre organization, and remains its Executive Director.

JOHN RANDALL (Musical Director).  Originally from Toronto, Canada, John is currently the Musical Director for the Los Angeles company of Menopause the Musical.  He was nominated for an LA Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical Direction for the Los Angeles production of Always . . . Patsy Cline.  Also in Los Angeles, he musically directed and played the award winning Forbidden Broadway: Y2K LA.  His conducting credits include the national tours of Barry Manilow's Copacabana and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Deborah Gibson and Patrick Cassidy. Broadway credits include playing in the orchestras for Beauty and the Beast and the revival of Annie with Nell Carter.  Off-Broadway, he understudied and performed the leading role of Gideon in the hit musical The Last Session.  John has also played keyboards for several national tours including Aspects of Love, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (with Ann-Margret) and most recently, Mamma Mia.

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