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ONE TOUCH OF VENUS Kicks Off Bayou City Concert Musicals' 2012-13 Season, 9/6

Bayou City Concert Musicals kicks off its 2012-13 season with a fully-staged concert version of the classic musical, One Touch of Venus, for five performances at the Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, September 6-9, 2012.

"It seems strange," says BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope, "to say a show written in the 1940s can be a Houston premiere, but One Touch of Venus has never before been seen on a Houston stage. That's a sad oversight BCCM will correct in September."

One Touch of Venus premiered on Broadway on October 7, 1943, and ran for 567 performances. It features music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash, and book by S. J. Perelman. The original production was the stuff of legend. Marlene Dietrich backed out of the title role, reportedly because she considered it "too sexy and profane." A young Texan took over the part and became one of Broadway's most enduring stars. Her name? Mary Martin.

BCCM hopes to find the same magic in its production. Danica Dawn Johnston will bring her considerable skills as a singer and comedienne to the role of Venus, the legendary statue that comes to life when kissed by a barber. Rob Flebbe will play Rodney, the barber who falls in love with the suddenly very real Venus. Artistic Director Paul Hope will direct BCCM's production, with musical director Michael Mertz, conductor Dominique Røyem, and choreographer Krissy Richmond.

One Touch of Venus was made into a 1948 film starring Ava Garner and RoBert Walker. Hope says the film bore little resemblance to the Broadway show. Rodney became Eddie and the music disappeared almost entirely "The only song that survived," said Hope, "was Speak Low and Ava Gardner was dubbed."

The less-than-well received movie dampened interest in reviving the musical for many years until New York's City Center Encores presented its concert staging in 1996. A London-based version of One Touch of Venus was tentatively scheduled for Broadway in 2001, but producers cancelled their plans after the September 11 terrorist attack on New York City.

Proceeds from Bayou City Concert Musicals' production of One Touch of Venus will benefit the Tim Harris Memorial Fund, which supports local musicians who have suffered catastrophic illness or injury.

Bayou City Concert Musicals will round out its 2012-13 season with two cabaret productions at the Performance Centre at the Ensemble Theatre. The first, Jerome Kern in Hollywood, will follow Kern's music as he made his way west to become one of Hollywood's most popular songwriters. Jerome Kern in Hollywood is scheduled for three Mondays in February (February 4, 11, and 18, 2013).

The second cabaret will feature the music of Arthur Schwartz. Though not as well known as Jerome Kern, Schwartz' work is worthy of a full chapter in the Great American Songbook. Among his most popular songs are By Myself, Dancing in the Dark, I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan, and That's Entertainment. Alone Together: The Songs of Arthur Schwartz is scheduled for three Mondays in May (May 6, 13, and 20. 2013).

BCCM season tickets and individual tickets to One Touch of Venus are currently on sale on-line at www.bayoucityconcertmusicals.org. Season tickets and individual tickets to One Touch of Venus will also be available by phone at 713-465-6484 beginning July 1, 2012. Single ticket prices range from $50 to $25.

Bayou City Concert Musicals is funded in part by grants from the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

Photo credit: Dalton DeHart


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