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'THE HAPPY HYPOCRITE' Completes York's 2008 Reading Series


The award-winning York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director) continues its ongoing Developmental Reading Series by presenting The Happy Hypocrite as the final reading in the 2008 series. The Happy Hypocrite will be presented Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 3:00 PM. As always, these readings are open to the general public and admission is free, but reservations are suggested.

The Happy Hypocrite is an adult fable, set in Regency London, about the unlikely romance between a pretty and innocent young entertainer and a profligate old Rake, whose soul - following many intriguing machinations - is redeemed through true love.

Although Noel Coward has been dead for 35 years, Tuesday will mark the world premiere of a piece he wrote before he became famous. In 1917, when he was only 16, Coward was touring as an actor and at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, he met the matinee idol Ivor Novello. The two collaborated on a song with the title, "Anything I Can Do For You?" with lyrics by Coward and melody by Novello. The following year, Novello wanted to use the tune for a review he wrote called "Tails Up!" He called on more seasoned lyricists, the now long forgotten Davy Burnaby and Ronald Jeans. The song was sung by Jack Buchanan (of Band Wagon fame.)

Barry Day, Coward's biographer and the annotator of his archive, came across a handwritten lyric by Coward with the annotation "music by Ivor Novello." The title matched the Novello song, but the lyrics didn't seem to fit. He showed it to Mark York, who is the Music Director for an adaptation of Max Beerbohm's "The Happy Hypocrite," which will feature songs from Coward revues. York studied the lyric and realized that with a shift in stresses it could indeed fit Novello's music. So the song will be given its premiere with proper attribution Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. when The Happy Hypocrite, adapted and directed by Tony Walton, is presented as part of the Developmental Reading Series at York Theater in the basement of St. Peter's Church in the Citicorp Center, 54th and Lexington.

The York Theatre Company is the only theater in New York City - and one of very few in the world - dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals, and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For more than three decades, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and neglected classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on new musicals in its mainstage series--most of them world, American, or New York premieres--by some of the field's most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Almost 30 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, and commercial transfers of such York productions as The Musical of Musicals - The Musical!, Souvenir, Jolson & Company, and acclaimed revivals of Sweeney Todd and Pacific Overtures have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs.

Each year, York's Developmental Reading Series presents between 30 to 40 readings and workshops of new musicals by emerging and established authors, all free of charge to the public. Producing Artistic Director James Morgan said, "These readings give writers a unique opportunity to get audience feedback while a show is still in progress, giving audiences an active role in the creative process." York's productions of Souvenir, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), as well as the company's current production of My Vaudeville Man!, were first developed in the Developmental Reading Series, where the current Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Avenue Q also made early appearances. The Developmental Reading Series is made possible in part through a generous donation from The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

Adapted from a story by Max Beerbohm


AIDED BY Barry Day

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 • 3:00 PM

For reservations e-mail or call 212-935-5824 x24.

THE YORK THEATRE COMPANY in Saint Peter's Theatre
54th Street Just East of Lexington
E train to Lexington Avenue or 6 train to 51st Street

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