Encores! Season Comes to a Close with Marguerite Monnot’s Irma La Douce By: Ellis Nassour
The Encores! season closing concert, May 7-11 for seven performances, breaks the traditional mold with the first production not written sta
teside, Marguerite Monnot’s heart-breaking musical Irma La Douce, the tale of a Parisian lady of the evening and the law student who falls in love with her, with English book and lyrics from the French original by Julian More, David Heneker, and Monty Norman. The show’s original book and lyrics are by Alexandre Breffort. Tony winner John Doyle will direct, with choreography by Chase Brock [Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark].
The cast of 13 is headlined by Jennifer Bowles [Matilda], playing the feisty "lady of the evening, abetted by Tony nominee Rob McClure [Chaplin; Honeymoon in Vegas]. Encores! vets Sam Bolen and Stephen DeRosa [The Nance; TV’s Boardwalk Empire], Tony and Drama Desk nominee Malcom Gets [Macbeth, Amour; TV’s Caroline in the City], Ben Crawford [Shrek], Zachary James [The Addams Family], and Chris Sullivan [Nice Work if You Can Get It; upcoming, Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of The Normal Heart] are among the featured cast.
After a three-year run in Paris, an English-language version of Irma La Douce, directed by Peter Brook, enjoyed tremendous success in London, then on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre [now the Schoenfeld] on September 29, 1960 and ran for 524 performances. The score produced one standard, "Our Language of Love," and also features "The Valse Millieu" and "Dis Donc." It was adapted into a very successful 1963 film comedy directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemon and Shirley MacLaine, but was stripped of its songs. However, music director André Previn used the music for his score.
Encores! artistic director is Jack Viertel. Support for Irma La Douce is generously provided in part by The Florence Gould Foundation and the Grand Marnier Foundation. The 2014 Encores! season is made possible, in part, by the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!, Stacey and Eric Mindich, Newman’s Own Foundation, Nathalie and Pablo Salame, and The Shubert Foundation.
Irma La Duce tickets are $30-$130 and available at the City Center box office, CityTix at 212-581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 P.M., Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8, and Sunday at 2 and 7.
Photos: Joan Marcus
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