NEW YORK CITY CENTER ANNOUNCES 2007 ENCORES! SEASON:
A CELEBRATION OF THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADWAY REVUE
On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Ziegfeld Follies
and James Goldman’s FOLLIES to open season, followed by Irving Berlin’s FACE THE MUSIC and
TO PARADISE, an original Encores! production
presenting immortal highlights
from the great revues of 1907-1952
New York , NY —Arlene Shuler, President and CEO of New York City Center, announced today
that the 14 th season of its acclaimed ENCORES! series will celebrate the great Broadway revue, a form that
flourished from just before 1900 until the early ‘50s. In honor of the 100 th anniversary of the first Ziegfeld Follies
– the annual Ziegfeld show was generally considered the defining achievement of the revue format – ENCORES!
will present three events inspired by the form, beginning with the first full-scale New York presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s
score for Folliesin more than two decades, playing February 8 – 11.
In describing the season, artistic director Jack Viertel said, “We’ll open the season with Stephen
Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies. For many theatergoers of my generation, Follies was a first
exposure to this kind of material, as Stephen Sondheim wrote brilliant pastiches of songs from the teens, ‘20s and ‘30s
in the style of Gershwin, Berlin and Porter. We’ll begin with those wonderful re-imaginings, and spend the season delving
back into the originals.”
From March 29 –April 1, ENCORES! will present the first full-scale restoration of Irving
Berlin and Moss Hart’s Face the Music, a 1932 musical about a desperate producer in New York trying
to raise the money for his latest revue, Rhinestones of ’32. The show, one of Berlin’s personal favorites,
contains a pair of depression-era classics – “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee” and “Soft Lights
and Sweet Music.”
The season will conclude with Stairway to Paradise, from May 10-14. This first-ever
specially created ENCORES! production will be a celebration of the very best material from a half century of Broadway
revues, and will include numbers and sketches from Florenz Ziegfeld’s shows and other legendary musicals and revues
of the era.
Between 1900 and 1950, while Broadway book musicals were morphing from operetta to musical comedy to the
musical plays of Rodgers and Hammerstein, there existed an equally thrilling profusion of Broadway revues – plotless,
bookless, sketch-driven shows featuring girls, gags, star comedians like Bert Lahr and Fanny Brice, and some of the finest
popular songs ever written. Ziegfeld was the king of the revue, but hundreds of imitators and emulators followed his lead.
Revues were conceived as topical, disposable entertainment, mixing political and social satire with popular
song and dance crazes. In Ziegfeld’s shows the comedians delivered short sketches, star vocalists appeared in fabulous
gowns, and gorgeous showgirls paraded across a series of spectacular stage designs. Competing with the opulence of Ziegfeld’s
Follies were a series of smaller, slyer, more biting political revues with more serious, if often satirical points
of view. Virtually all of the great songwriters of Broadway, from Irving Berlin and the Gershwins to Rodgers and Hart, Cole
Porter, Harold Rome, Schwartz and Dietz, Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg provided the songs, which included immortal classics
such as “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “Stairway to Paradise,”
“Manhattan” and “Dancing in the Dark.”
Immigration, ragtime, World War I, prohibition, the Great Depression, and the arrival of talking pictures
all proved fodder for early revues. In the ‘40s, World War II and its aftermath dominated the scene. The ‘50s
began with the last great revues, concluding with the much-loved New Faces of 1952.
The 2007 ENCORES! season will blow the dust off these long-forgotten gems, cull the very best from
the era, and match the results with Berlin’s and Sondheim’s own fascination with the form. These three shows provide
a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy a treasure trove of great American songs and sketches, performed in their original
contexts by Broadway’s finest actors, singers and comedians.
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Major support for the New York City Center ENCORES! 2007 season is provided by the Joseph S. and Diane
H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Donna and Ben Rosen.