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Sorvino Stars as The Most Happy Fella at NYCO, March 4-22

By: Oct. 17, 2005
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Paul Sorvino, whose most famous musical theatre appearance was in The Baker's Wife, will take on the title role of The Most Happy Fella.  The film and stage star will play robust winemaker Tony Esposito in the musical, which will be presented by the New York City Opera from March 4th through 22nd, 2006.

A blend of opera, operetta and musical comedy with music, lyrics and book by Frank Loesser, the show is based on the play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard.  In the show, which will be directed at NYCO by Philip William McKinley, Tony, an Italian-born winemaker who resides in California's Nappa Valley, espouses a lovely mail order bride (who he calls Rosabella) after sending her a photo of the younger and better-looking foreman Joe.  Not unexpectedly, Rosabella begins to develop feelings for the latter man.

With more casting to be announced, The Most Happy Fella will also feature choreography by Peggy Hickey, sets by Michael Anania, costumes by Ann Hould Ward, and lighting by Robert Wietzel.

The original production of The Most Happy Fella opened on May 3rd, 1956 to run for 676 performances; it received six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.  The show starred Robert Weede, Art Lund, Susan Johnson and Jo Sullivan, who would become the wife of Loesser.  The show has had three revivals.  The most recent was a 1992 production starring Spiro Malas, Sophie Hayden, Liz Larsen and others.

Sorvino starred as another sympathetic lovelorn figure--Aimable--in the original production of The Baker's Wife, which closed out of town but has since attained cult status.  His other Broadway credits include An American Millionaire, That Championship Season (for which he received a Tony nomination), Skyscraper and Bajour.  On screen, he has been seen in Bulworth, Romeo + Juliet, Goodfellas, Dick Tracy, Reds and Nixon, among others.

To order tickets or for more information, call 212-721-6500 or visit