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Yank- A New Musical.

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Yank- A New Musical.#1
Posted: 2/25/10 at 7:47am
Yank- A New Musical.

Yank- A New Musical.

This is great new musical that has been in development for the last two years (originates from workshops back in 2005) and is now running Off Broadway presented by the brilliantly talented York Theatre Company.

In WWII there were hundreds of thousands of gay men who were in the closet or marginalized. Homosexuality was illegal. Soldiers arrested for it in WWII were given 20 years and sent ‚??back to Virginia to get acquainted with the guys arrested for it in the last war‚??. Either that or they were given a Dishonorable Discharge.

Yanks! is a full-blown love story that takes place in WWII and features all that swell music that sounds as though it were straight out of an Andrew Sisters song book. This is story of Stu (the extraordinary Bobby Steggert) who discovers his sexual preference after he signs up for the Army. Before this, all he knew was that he didn‚??t like girls yet; showers with guys made him nervous; and he was the pits at rifle drill. His buddies call him ‚??Light Loafers‚?? which makes him think he might be like the men in the steno pool who have nicknamed themselves Scarlett, Melanie and India. And, oh yeah, there is this one guy, Mitch, nicknamed ‚??Hollywood‚?? because he is just so good looking, that Stu can‚??t get out of his mind. Mitch has been flirting with Stu from Day One, and it takes its toll. When Stu admits feelings for Mitch they share their first kiss. Lift-off.

The trajectory of this romance and its position in the middle of the War in the Pacific is handled with panache. The story is both parody and personal. The music covers everything from Betty Grable‚??s behind to squadron loyalty to the importance of your Army uniform no matter who you‚??re schtupping. The harmonies are vibrant and the choreography tight. When Stu becomes a photographer for Yank Magazine under the tutelage of Artie (Jeffrey Denman) who recognizes in Stu a fellow fairy, his induction into manhood matures him but leaves his love for Mitch unsullied.

It has just opened to some great reviews which I've supplied below.


Having had the demo CD for awhile it really does have a great story with some wonderful songs and is a show I think could work here at maybe the Kings Head or the larger Arts.
******************************
Here are the really fab reviews:

Variety:

Yank!
(Theater at St. Peter's Church;175 seats; $67.50 top)
by Steven Suskin

A York Theater Company, Maren Berthelsen/Pamela Koslow/Stuart Wild, Matt
Schicker, Hugh Hayes, Jim Kierstead, Sondra Healy/Shidan Majidi presentation
of a musical in two acts with music and arrangements by Joseph Zellnik, book
and lyrics by David Zellnik.
Directed by Igor Goldin.
Two star-crossed WWII-era lovers kiss in a shadow, figuratively and
literally, yearning for one smiling day to be just a couple of regular guys.
Coming from the unheralded songwriting team of the Zellnik brothers, "Yank!"
is the most exciting new American musical since "Adding Machine."
Lyricist-librettist David Zellnik devised the original material around Army
weekly Yank magazine, working with his composer sibling Joseph.

Raw recruit Stu (Bobby Steggert) is 18, out of place and miserably lonely.
He's befriended in the barracks by smooth, Jersey-born Mitch (Ivan
Hernandez), but their relationship develops awkwardly. When Mitch rejects
Stu, the latter is recruited by Yank reporter Artie (Jeffry Denman), who is
searching for both a gay buddy and a staff photographer.

Stu transfers to the cushy journalistic life while the soldiers ship
overseas. He inevitably finds his way back to the squad and Mitch in the
South Pacific on the eve of "the big one." Complications ensue, and they
don't all go off happily into the sunset.

All this is set to a bright and enjoyable score that pays homage to the
Rodgers & Hammerstein sound. The material calls for a certain amount of
1940s pastiche, but the Bros. Zellnik demonstrate craft and skill.

The title song stretches across seven minutes or so, artfully following the
motley recruits through induction and training camp. Another extended
number, "Click," indoctrinates Stu in a different facet of Army life, with
tap shoes unexpectedly and delightfully bringing musical comedy into the
picture: Artie and Stu click as like-minded pals, Stu clicks as a press
photog, and the taps click up a storm. The score peaks with "A Couple of
Regular Guys," a winning ballad of middle-class longing that patrons at the
press preview were already whistling during intermission.

Sensitive material is enhanced by a fine cast. Steggert -- who gave an
intense turn as the explosive Younger Brother in the recently shuttered
"Ragtime" -- carries the show, his singing and dramatic talents heightened
by an almost crushing vulnerability.

Hernandez, from the lamentable "Romantic Poetry," looks something like a
non-neurotic Montgomery Clift and sings like a dream (which is very much the
point). Denman provides comedy relief and a touch of maturity as Artie,
along with supplying the show's enlivening choreography.

The assorted women are cannily written for one actress, and Nancy Anderson
is extremely good, stepping out of the gimmick to play a major role in the
final scenes. The rest are equally strong, especially Tally Sessions and
Andrew Durand as the Brooklyn and Tennessee members of the squad,
respectively, and Todd Faulkner as Sarge and other roles.

Piece originated at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2005, with
subsequent developmental stagings at Brooklyn's Gallery Players and San
Diego's Diversionary Theater. "Yank!" marks the York's most impressive
production in memory; the cast of 12 and five-piece band is lavish by
company standards, with enhancement from eight commercial producers. Even
so, set designer Ray Klausen is forced to make do with low resources (but
high imagination).

Show seems a likely prospect for transfer to a larger Off Broadway or
possibly a small Broadway venue. Hopefully with further tinkering.

Director Igor Goldin has gotten good performances, but the staging could be
improved. The character of Mitch could use some motivational work; a few
book inconsistencies might be worked out; and a 1940s-style dream ballet is
considerably more distracting than helpful. Denman seems to lovingly
incorporate poses from Agnes de Mille's Broadway ballets, but this serious
stretch of "Yank!" is perhaps not the place for it.

All told, however, "Yank!" is a bright, original and moving winner of a
musical that earns its exclamation point.

Yank- A New Musical.

*******************************************
The always over picky,
The New York Times:

Stealing Kisses Before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

by Neil Genzlinger

A delightful first act gives way to a muddled Act II in "Yank!," a musical
about a gay romance during World War II. But if the overall package doesn't
quite work, this stuffed-to-the-brim show certainly goes out of its way to
include something for everybody: two tap numbers, a ballet, rousing songs of
camaraderie, sentimental ballads, bare backsides, guys in formal gowns. With
all that's going on, you hardly even notice the accidental topicality.

"Yank!," first seen at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2005, is
being staged this time around by the York Theater Company, which has
assembled a solid cast led by Bobby Steggert as Stu, who enters the Army at
18, still uncertain of his sexuality. He goes to work for the Army magazine
Yank, but not before meeting Mitch (Ivan Hernandez), a hunky fellow soldier
who befriends him and ultimately becomes more than a friend (though
remaining in denial even as their relationship heats up).

"Yank!," with music by Joseph Zellnik and book and lyrics by David Zellnik,
his brother, of course has an added resonance because of the current debate
over whether to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But this is
hardly a political show. Its subtitle, "A WWII Love Story," encapsulates its
main aspiration: to depict a same-sex couple as so many heterosexual couples
have been shown over the years, struggling to capture the elusive thing
called love against a backdrop of grand events.

In pursuit of that goal, the writers deliberately traffic in clich√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs,
following the blueprint of countless musicals and war movies of the 1940s or
thereabouts. The gimmick works well for most of the way, especially when the
cast's lone woman, the versatile Nancy Anderson in an absurdity of multiple
roles, sings the kind of slow number that many screen and stage heterosexual
couples have kissed to. Here, it's Stu and Mitch doing the kissing; the
effect is sublime.

Ultimately, though, the commitment to emulating those old musicals derails a
show that had been moving along nicely: a dreamlike ballet is thrown in near
the end, killing the momentum. A few other poor choices in the final act are
also disruptive. It begins to feel as if the writers and the director, Igor
Goldin, had some kind of grab bag they needed to empty before they could
wrap things up.

Until these missteps, the show has a fine mix of humor and simmering drama
and decent enough songs to keep you anticipating the next one. Probably a
few too many themes are introduced and left underexplored - fidelity in gay
relationships, for example, and personal loyalty versus respect for military
codes. The show would be better if it were less ambitious.

************************************************
The Associated Press:

'Yank!' A wartime romance arrives off-Broadway
by Michael Kuchwara

At a time when "don't ask, don't tell" is again in the headlines, along
comes an affecting little show called "Yank!" to give the topic of gays in
the military a potent musical-theater platform.

Though framed by the present, the setting for much of the evening is World
War II where new draftees are preparing to become soldiers. And one, in
particular, is discovering his sexuality.

The musical, which the York Theatre Company opened Wednesday at
off-Broadway's Theatre at St. Peter's Church, treats the topic seriously,
but "Yank!" is no lecture. It's also supremely entertaining. Often
unabashedly romantic and quite funny, this sweetly old-fashioned show never
slips into a soupiness that might lessen the effectiveness of its emotional
message.

You can tell its authors have gorged on 1940s movies, both World War II
dramas and home-front musicals laced with a patriotic fervor. With book and
lyrics by David Zellnik and music by Joseph Zellnik (David's brother),
"Yank!" pays homage to the past.

The song stylings often suggest the era's Hit Parade - especially in the
evening's most persistent tune, a big-band number prophetically called
"Rememb'ring You." But there's more, too, in Zellnik brothers' pastiche
score - from novelty songs to the blues - that should make for an
atmospheric cast recording.

"Yank!" even includes a dream ballet, a popular convention at the time,
especially after its use in the '40s's biggest musical stage hit,
"Oklahoma!"

A major part of the show's success comes from the pivotal casting of Bobby
Steggert as Stu, a young gay soldier who finds his niche as a photographer
for a military magazine called Yank.

Steggert scored earlier this season as Younger Brother in the short-lived
Broadway revival of "Ragtime." The actor has a good singing voice and a
winning stage presence that allows him to expertly negotiate the emotional
roller-coaster of a plot.

Director Igor Goldin and choreographer Jeffry Denman have made the tiny St.
Peter's stage work to the show's advantage. Denman does double duty in the
musical, also appearing as Stu's smooth, tap-dancing mentor, a gay man who
knows how to beat the system.

There is strong support from Ivan Hernandez as Stu's conflicted lover and
from the hardworking Nancy Anderson, who plays all the women in the musical,
from Stu's mother to the girl-next-door to a radio songbird. The actress
never stops changing wigs and costumes.

Special mention should be made of the four actors - Andrew Durand, David
Perlman, Christopher Ruth and Tally Sessions - who serve as Stu's military
buddies. The roles may be stereotypes, straight out of central casting, but
the actors manage to stamp their own personalities on them.

"Yank!" has a bittersweet ending, which is to be expected, considering the
time of the story. But it's to the credit of the musical's creators that
"Yank!" manages to be haunting as well.



Updated On: 2/25/10 at 07:47 AM
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Yank- A New Musical.#2
Posted: 2/25/10 at 5:29pm
This looks really great! Shame is it closes the day before I get to New York on my next trip! Damn! I saw Bobby Steggert in 110 In The Shade a couple of years ago and he was brilliant.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Yank- A New Musical.#2
Posted: 2/28/10 at 7:32am
Mama, thanks for all the info (and the PM). After reading all the reviews and hearing the music (the website is particularly good for resources), I've booked myself a ticket for the New York production on Friday 19th of March - I've been looking for something to keep me occupied that night.

Now, do I go in combats or demob suit? (Maybe just go commando?)
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Yank- A New Musical.#3
Posted: 2/28/10 at 12:03pm
Just your boxers as the young guy polishing shoes does in the show!
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Yank- A New Musical.#5
Posted: 3/8/10 at 5:45pm
Extended till April 4th if it helps anyone going in the near future.
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Yank- A New Musical.#6
Posted: 3/8/10 at 6:15pm
Yay! Thanks to the extension, I have now booked to see this in 3 weeks time! Really looking forward to it.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Yank- A New Musical.#7
Posted: 3/8/10 at 6:17pm
I knew you would be happy Bob, BOOK NOW!!!!!
I so wish I could see this great show. I listen to it daily.
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Yank- A New Musical.#8
Posted: 3/20/10 at 12:46pm
Saw 'Yank' last night, from the front row no less, so got a nice eyeful of the brief nudity!

A great little show, corny at times, but full of heart and boasting some fantastic musical numbers, particularly good lyrics and all-round good performances. It was really nice to see some good tap dancing for a change, I don't think we get to see it enough, as well as a beautiful dream-sequence ballet straight out of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

When I saw that the venue was inside a church I had my doubts but there was nothing to fear. It's a proper and obviously well-equipped theatre in a very modern building.

Before the show the York Theatre Company artistic director gave a little speech to set up the show, which was a nice touch. He warned us that the show contained profanity, adult themes and nudity (which got a large round of applause) and explained how, in the intermission, the lines were always at the mens' room for a change (which drew applause from the few women in the audience).

I almost hope that the producers of 'Yank' don't get too big for their boots and try to resist the temptation to over-complicate it especially by moving it to much bigger theatres. Its charm owes a lot to the intimacy with the audience that a smaller space allows.
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Yank- A New Musical.#9
Posted: 3/20/10 at 2:20pm
I so want to see this. It sounds a little like a new 'Privates On Parade'?!?
I'm so glad I recommended it to you John and that you enjoyed it as much as you did.
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Yank- A New Musical.#10
Posted: 4/2/10 at 1:27pm
Just one day after the New York Times reported that the Off-Broadway premiere of 'Yank!' may come to Broadway during the 2010/11 season, comes confirmation, in a form of a press release from the show's producers.
The commercial co-producers of the current production of 'Yank!' are Maren Berthelsen, Pamela Koslow, Stuart Wilk, Matt Schicker, Hugh Hayes, Jim Kierstead, Sondra Healy and Shidan Majidi. Joining the team for the Broadway production will be Karl Held, one of the producers of the recent revival of 'Ragtime' earlier this season. The York Theatre Company, one of the co-producers of the show's current Off-Broadway run, will not co-produce the Broadway outing.

I think this could be the scene stealer at next years Tony's!
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Yank- A New Musical.#11
Posted: 4/3/10 at 4:55am
If this comes to London I will spank my privates.
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Yank- A New Musical.#12
Posted: 4/6/10 at 2:57pm
^^^^^^^^ @@

I've listened to the recording of this a few times and really enjoy the score. I think the music is much better than other scores that are supposed to be of a particular period (The Drowsy Chaperone springs to mind) and the piece feels authentic without being an imitation. Some of the dialogue sounds a bit preachy and over-sincere but overall it leaves me wanting to see the show not least to find out how the story ends because I can't quite work it out from the recording.
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Yank- A New Musical.#13
Posted: 4/6/10 at 3:03pm
I agree Scripps, it sounds very Privates On Parade kind of thing, as I've said before.
I'm livid I wont see this Off Broadway but heres hoping they don't over blow it for its 2011 Broadway transfer.
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Yank- A New Musical.#14
Posted: 4/6/10 at 4:16pm
It was not even remotely Privates On Parade. Though there was humour, essentially it was a very subtle, beautifully written, really moving book with a highly tuneful score.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Yank- A New Musical.#15
Posted: 4/6/10 at 4:24pm
Maybe I got the wrong jist of it.
I think it is far superior to 'Privates.
Listening to 'Privates' now, it really doesn't stand up at al to the awards and hype it received when the RSC first staged it.

'Yank' sis to be recorded for full CD release with the company that just close dit in New York.
The demo/original cast demo that is out there now- I just adore.