When Garbo Talks! Comes To ICT, Previews Begin 10/12


International City Theatre closes its 25th, Silver Jubilee Season with the world premiere of an original musical about glamorous and enigmatic silver screen legend Greta Garbo. With book and lyrics by the late Buddy Kaye ("A-Your Adorable," the "I Dream Of Jeannie" television theme) and music by the late Mort Garson ("Our Day Will Come"), When Garbo Talks! opens on October 15 and continues through November 7 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Low-priced previews begin October 12.

Additional book writer Richard D. Kaye has worked closely with director Jules Aaron to develop When Garbo Talks!, his father's final project, for the ICT stage. The eight-person ensemble features Jessica Burrows in the title role; Michael Stone Forrest as Swedish film director Mauritz Stiller; Matthew Henerson as MGM studio mogul Louis B. Mayer; Christopher Carothers as silent film star John Gilbert; Alexandra Ackerman as Swedish acting coach Signe Enwall; Teya Patt as Mayer's longtime assistant, Ida Koverman; Nick Rogers as MGM exec Eddie Mannix; and Scott Kruse in a variety of roles. Brent Crayon is musical director and Kay Cole choreographs.

Greta Garbo's beautiful, glamorous, Sphinx-like image - carefully cultivated by MGM - captivated American and European viewers of both the silent screen of the '20s and sound films of the '30s. Garbo's personal decision to leave her film career in 1941 and maintain a notoriously private, reclusive lifestyle has only further enhanced her mystique.

"This new play shows us a Garbo that many of her fans may not recognize - the young actress just starting out," explains Aaron. "It shows the humor and the passions of the woman who would later develop into an iconic figure. Garbo was really the first modern woman in film. She demanded - and received - treatment and pay equal to that of her male counterparts."

When Garbo Talks! begins when 17-year-old acting student Greta Gustafsson is discovered by Sweden's genius film director, Mauritz Stiller. Stiller uses her talent to angle his way into Hollywood, but MGM's Louis B. Mayer has plans of his own. Hearts break and careers plummet when the emboldened 24-year-old Greta Garbo challenges Mayer and the Hollywood establishment to become MGM's highest paid actress and most reluctant international star.

"The script was sitting on my father's desk when he passed away suddenly in 2002," says Kaye. "I looked at it and thought, 'I'm going to make this happen.' As a music publisher, my mission was to complete his work and introduce 20 new songs to the American songbook. This would not have happened without my friend and mentor Jules Aaron, who has a PhD in Theater from NYU, and was so instrumental in the development of this show."

Jules Aaron has directed numerous critically-acclaimed productions on the International City Theatre stage including, most recently, Songs for a New World, The Threepenny Opera, Cabaret, Song of Singapore, Jesus' Kid Brother and Charley's Aunt, going all the way back to ICT's inaugural production, A Quiet End, in 1986. Elsewhere he has directed over 250 productions at venues such as New York's Public Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, La Mirada Performing Arts Center, TheatreWorks and the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and he is the former Artistic Director of the Grove Shakespeare Festival. He has directed many world premieres including works by John Guare, Leonard Melfi, William Hauptmann, Craig Lucas, Keith Reddin and Susan Miller, and has directed actors JuliAnne Moore, Don Cheadle, Billy Zane, John Vickery, Jane Carr, David Birney, Ralph Waite, Joan Van Ark and Bruce Davison, among others. Jules is the recipient of multiple accolades including Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly, Back Stage and Drama Logue Awards. He is currently developing Cool Papa's Party with Wayne Brady in New York and I Only Have Eyes For You, based on the life of Al Dubin, for Corky Hale Productions.

Buddy Kaye was a songwriter and lyricist whose career spanned six decades. His most popular songs included "Till The End Of Time" (Perry Como), "Full Moon and Empty Arms" (Frank Sinatra), "A-You're Adorable" (Perry Como), "I'll Close My Eyes" (Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington), "Quiet Nights" (Tony Bennett, Diana Krall), "Speedy Gonzales" (Pat Boone), "The Old Songs" (Barry Manilow), "The Next Time" (Cliff Richard) and "Little By Little" (Dusty Springfield). Buddy was also co-writer of the classic "I Dream Of Jeannie" television theme (in network/syndication since 1966). Buddy produced and directed the Grammy Award-winning Best Children's Recording "The Little Prince," narrated by Richard Burton. As an author his works were published by Simon & Schuster, Bantam Books, St. Martins Press and Candlewick Press. Buddy also taught Method Songwriting at U.C.L.A. and College of the Desert. Recognized for his contributions to the Great American Songbook, Buddy Kaye's passing was noted in Time magazine, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other distinguished worldwide publications.

Mort Garson attended the Julliard School of Music on a scholarship where he was a composition major. During his varied career, he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, arranged for The Lettermen on Capitol Records, and accompanied Doris Day on two albums, Mel Tormé on his Right Now! album, Glenn Yarborough on his highly successful album The Lonely Things, and Glen Campbell on "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." With lyricist Bob Hilliard, he wrote one of the great lounge hits of the 1960s, "Our Day Will Come," a hit for Ruby & The Romantics and more recently covered by k.d. lang and Take 6 for the soundtrack of the movie Shag. He was a pioneer in the field of electronic music and one of the first to make use of the Moog synthesizer. Highly prized among collectors and exotica fans are Garson's electronic albums from the mid- to late 1960s, including the Grammy-nominated The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds. Mort created and composed the music for the Grammy Award-winning Best Children's Recording "The Little Prince," narrated by Richard Burton, on a Moog synthesizer in 1974. Garson also worked in television and film, scoring a wide variety of music for many different movies and TV shows. He composed the score for the 1983 West End musical about Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn! The Musical

Richard D. Kaye entered the world of theater in 2003 to produce When Garbo Talks!, the new musical written by his father, the late Buddy Kaye. The first staged reading, directed by Jules Aaron, was at the Court Theatre in Los Angeles, and Richard has since taken on the role of "additional" book writer after completing a rewrite as part of the 2008 International City Theatre development series. Richard served on the board of directors of Broadway on Sunset and was a music consultant for the Second AnnuAl West Coast Musical Theatre Conference. Richard worked for Sony/ATV Music Publishing as a consultant. He was associate producer of the Grammy Award-winning Best Children's Recording "The Little Prince," narrated by Richard Burton; published the Jimmy Osmond million-selling gold record "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool" (No. 1 on the UK charts for six consecutive weeks); and was co-administrator of the TUBES/ David Foster No. 1 Billboard rock song "She's A Beauty." Richard worked with the early Billy Joel song catalog as Professional Manager for Home Grown Music and began his career in New York City as a record producer for Capitol Records and Mercury Records.

The set designer for When Garbo Talks! is Stephen Gifford; lighting designer is Debra Garcia Lockwood; costume designer is Kim DeShazo; sound design is by Paul Fabre; hair and wig design is by Tony Gagliardi; property designers are Patty and Gordon Briles; casting is by Michael Donovan Casting; and Shashin Desai produces for International City Theatre.

International City Theatre is the Resident Professional Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle for "Sustained Excellence in Theater."

When Garbo Talks! runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, October 15 through November 7. Tickets are $35.00 and $40.00 on Thursdays, and $40.00 and $45.00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night which is $50.00 and $60.00 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance. Preview performances take place on Tuesday, October 12; Wednesday, October 13; and Thursday, October 14 at 8 pm. Preview tickets are $32.00. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at (562) 436-4610 or go to www.InternationalCityTheatre.com.

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