42nd Street Moon Presents VERY WARM FOR MAY, Opens 5/8

42nd Street Moon's final production of the season, Very Warm for May, is the company's first show in the Jerome Kern Celebration and spotlights Kern's final Broadway score. The show previews on May 5, 6 and 7, opens on Saturday May 8 and runs through May 24 at the Eureka Theatre.

"We're starting our Kern Celebration with his last new Broadway musical," Moon Artistic Director Greg MacKellan stated. "In Very Warm for May, Kern moved very comfortably into the "Swing Era," and was experimenting with harmonies and styles that would not become standard until well into the 1940s."

Oscar Hammerstein II's script is a giddy romp that takes the old "barn musical" plot and turns it on its head. This time, the show in the barn is an avant-garde musical being rehearsed by a bohemian bunch led by an eccentric director. Winnie Spofford, an amiably screwball Long Island matron, sponsors the troupe on her estate. Title character May Graham, on the run from her domineering older brother, hides out with the troupe for the summer.

The show opened in November 1939 starring Jack Whiting and Eve Arden, and was a smash hit out of town, but producer Max Gordon changed Kern and Hammerstein's work and the new version met with mixed reviews on Broadway - critics raved about the Kern and Hammerstein score but some were hesitant about the book. When several musicals (including Ethel Merman in Cole Porter's Du Barry Was a Lady) opened soon after, May gave in to the stiff competition and closed after two months.

The current version restores much of the cut material and has only been performed at Equity Library Theatre in New York in 1985, in a concert production at Carnegie Hall with Brent Barrett, Jon Lovitz and Donna Lynn Champlin in 1993, and at 42nd Street Moon, where it was part of the "Hammerstein and Hart Festival" in 1995.

Kern and Hammerstein's beautiful and sophisticated score features the timeless "All the Things You Are" (heard in a stunning arrangement unique to the musical), "All in Fun," "In the Heart of the Dark," "Heaven in My Arms," and "That Lucky Fellow." Moon's Artistic Director, Greg MacKellan directs, with musical direction by G. Scott Lacy and Dave Dobrusky, and choreography by Zack Thomas Wilde.

The 42nd Street Moon cast features Anil Margsahayam, who is returning to Moon after a two-year stint with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, as Broadway director Johnny Graham, Megan Hopp as his errant sister, May, and Jeremy Vik as their father, vaudevillian Will Graham.

Peter Budinger portrays an ex-boxer who fancies himself a theater critic, Bill Fahrner, a seventeen-year veteran of numerous Moon shows, plays the avant-garde director Ogdon Quiller, and Maureen McVerry portrays the Eve Arden role of Winnie Spofford, the patroness of the Ogdon Quiller Progressive Playshop. Winnie's son and daughter, who are also caught up in the summer stock madness, are Sarah Kathleen Farrell and Luke Chapman. Members of the "Progressive Playshop" are Robbie Cowan, Michelle Ianiro, Alexandra Kaprielian, Zachary Franczak, and Jimmy Robertson.

Tickets ($39 - $44) are available through the 42nd Street Moon Box Office at 415/255-8207 (Open Tues. - Fri. from noon to 5 p.m.), or through the website www.42ndstmoon.org <http://www.42ndstmoon.org/> . Preview tickets range from $19 - $28, and discounts are available for seniors, students, and those under 30. All performances are presented at San Francisco's intimate Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St.

42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre, contributing to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimate productions of "Uncommon Musicals" -- classic and rarely performed shows by the great 20th century songwriters. Through productions, educational programs, and community outreach, the company is committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage. Since 1993 the company has staged more than 90 musicals, as well as several revues celebrating the dazzling legacy of the 20th Century's greatest musical theater composers and lyricists.

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