Photo Flash: The York Theatre Company Celebrates 50 Years with a CELEBRATION
The York Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, as part of its 50th Anniversary season, presented a special York Legacy Concert of the 1969 Broadway musical Celebration, written by the revered songwriting team of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones for two performances only on January 27th at The York Theatre at Saint Peter's.
Directed by David Glenn Armstrong (York's recent concert of I Do! I Do! and multiple Musicals in Mufti including Plain & Fancy), with music direction by Deniz Cordell (Muftis of Panama Hattie and Lolita, My Love), the cast featured Fred Applegate (The Producers, Sister Act) as Rich, Samantha Bruce (The Fantasticks, York's concert of I Do! I Do!) as Angela, Matt Dengler (The Visit, Mufti of Harold and Maude) as Orphan, and Nick Wyman (The Phantom of the Opera, York's Desperate Measures) as Potemkin, with Joy Del Valle, Gabriella Mack, Noah Mogaka, and Rafael Rodriguez as the Revelers. Casting was by Carol Hanzel.
Broadway veterans Fred Applegate and Nick Wyman first performed these very same roles opposite each other forty-seven years ago in a New Jersey stock production of Celebration which Tom Jones happened to see. Applegate, Wyman, and Jones are all looking forward to their reunion and returning to the magical world of Celebration at The York Theatre, alongside longtime Fantasticks leads Samantha Bruce and Matt Dengler and an ensemble of new faces.
Celebration is set on a deserted city street in winter, where a group of ragged Revelers perform a modern version of the ancient ritual battle between Winter and Summer, the Young and the Old. Inspired by Peter Brook and Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, Celebration now makes its grand return to New York at The York Theatre fifty-one years (and five days) after its opening on Broadway. This newly rewritten version, first staged in 2016 by the New Line Theatre in St. Louis, was hailed by the critics. Bawdy, touching, and full of surprises, Celebration is a major milestone in Jones and Schmidt's search to find new forms for the American musical.
Photo Credit: Ben Strothmann