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'MUSICAL OF MUSICALS' Benefit Performance 7/8, Dedicated To Memory Of Original Cast Member Lovette George

'MUSICAL OF MUSICALS' Benefit Performance 7/8, Dedicated To Memory Of Original Cast Member Lovette George

The producers and cast of The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) have dedicated the one-night-only benefit performance on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:30pm to the memory of Lovette George, who starred in the original off Broadway production and died in September, 2006 from ovarian cancer, at the age of 44. The benefit will be presented at The York Theatre Company in Saint Peter's Church, (54th Street and Lexington Avenue).

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart, has played to sold-out houses across the United Stages, in Canada and on London's West End. The evening will benefit the York Theatre Company, the award-winning off-Broadway company that first produced the show, in 2004, in honor of the theatre's 40th Anniversary.

Lovette George was nominated for a 2004 Drama Desk Award for The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) and appeared in the show at the York Theatre Company and later in its run at Dodger Stages. She appeared at Lincoln Center Theater in A New Brain, Marie Christine, and as Carrie in Carousel, and starred as the lead role of Pearl in the record-breaking German production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express.

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) first opened at the York on December 16, 2003, garnering rave reviews and was nominated for five Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. It moved to the Dodgers Stages, playing for a total of 583 performances in New York. The New York Times wrote, "The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) has real wit, real charm. It's great fun!" The musical has since played all across the United States, Canada and London. The latest production just sole out at the Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod, closing on July 4; it is this cast that is coming to New York for the one-night-only benefit.

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) is a musical about ... musicals! In a comic satire of musical theatre genres, one story becomes five musicals, each in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim.

The plot is simple: June, an ingénue who can't pay the rent, is threatened by her evil landlord. Will the handsome leading man come to her rescue? In an evening of variations on a theme, this basic plot is musicalized the way Rodgers and Hammerstein might have envisioned it, taking place in Kansas in August, complete with a Dream Ballet. The story is then done in the style of Stephen Sondheim, featuring the landlord as a tortured, artistic genius who slashes the throats of his tenants in revenge because they don't appreciate his art. When presented in the style of Jerry Herman, the story becomes a splashy star vehicle, while the Andrew Lloyd Webber version is a rock musical, with borrowed themes from Puccini. The story is re-told one last time in the style of Kander and Ebb, set in a speakeasy in Chicago. The tone of this evening of satire is loving/irreverent "in a sorry/grateful" kind of way.

Melanie Herman, the show's New York producer, has reunited the show's original artistic team (Pamela Hunt, director; Jim Morgan, sets; John Carver Sullivan, costumes and Mary Jo Dondlinger, lights), along with actors who have performed the show in New York and around the country: Joanne Bogart, Matt Castle, Brent Schindele and Kristin Maloney. Musical of Musicals (the Musical) has music by Eric Rockwell, lyrics by Joanne Bogart, and book by Rockwell and Bogart.

The York Theatre Company, James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director, was recently nominated for five 2009 Drama Desk Awards, four 2009 Lucille Lortel Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards, and two Drama League Awards for its productions of Enter Laughing, The Musical and My Vaudeville Man! last season. The York is the only theater in New York City-and one of very few in the world-dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals, as well as preserving gems from the past. Winner of a special Drama Desk Award for developing and producing new musical theatre, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike for almost four decades. 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. The York's Developmental Reading Series, which presents nearly 40 free readings of new musicals every year, was the incubator for the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Avenue Q, among many other significant shows.

For more information visit www.musicalofmusicals.com.

The July 8 benefit begins at 7:30 pm at The York Theatre Company in Saint Peter's Church, (54th and Lexington Avenues). Tickets are $40 (show only; limited availability) and $100 (includes post-show reception) and are available online at www.yorktheatre.org or by phone at 212-935-5820.

Photo of Original Off Broadway Cast by Carol Rosegg

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