Oh What a Lovely War Has York Readings, Sept. 26-27

The sharp-tongued 1964 Broadway revue Oh What a Lovely War will be heading back to Broadway, where it will run during the 2006-2007 theatre season with the added twist of an all-female cast.  Produced and directed by Sharon Rosen (off-Broadway's OBIE-winning The Tricky Part), the show will first be workshopped and receive industry readings 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...it 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," as the show is described in production notes.  Oh What a Lovely War features 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."

Unlike the original production of Oh What a Lovely War, the revival will be cast with 13 women, who will create approximately 90 characters.  Casting for the upcoming workshop is underway, and will be announced shortly.  The show will feature musical direction by John Randall, scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Therese Bruck and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald.

Oh What a Lovely War was first performed by 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 Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm and Susannah York in its cast.

For more information about Oh What a Lovely War, please call Snug Harbor Productions at 212-354-6510.


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