Broadway by the Year Season Opener is a Spectacular Valentine to 1921
By Ellis Nassour
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in memorable fashion as Town Hall and Scott Siegel begin Broadway by the Year’s 11th season February 14 at 8 P.M. with Broadway Musicals of 1921. "And it’s going to be a really big show," states Siegel, uncategorically. "It’s a perfect Valentine Day date night!"
The acclaimed concert series will highlight that bygone, golden era of revues, such as the Ziegfeld Follies, George White Scandals and Music Box Revues, which were crammed with song, comedy, dance and beautiful girls.
"It was quite an exciting time," notes Siegel, "because that’s when Broadway, as we know it, was taking shape."
The show created, written and hosted by Siegel will features the largest cast in the history of the BBT Y series. Headliners will include Kate Baldwin, Erin Davie, Erin and Jeffry Denman, Kevin Earley, Stephen Mo Hanan, Kendrick Jones, Liz Lark Brown, Bobby Steggert and the "Siegfeld" Follies Girls, 10 chorines who’ll recreate the look and style of the Bway that existed 90 years ago.
"The ladies aren’t just showgirls," Siegel says. "They are among the best of Broadway gypsies." The ladies are Elizabeth Clinard, Jaime Lyn Frola, Naomi Hubert, Angela Kahle, Bethany Moore, Lauren Pastorek, Amanda Paulson, Jennifer Rias, Kiira Schmidt and Hilary Thompson.
"One of the special treats of 1921," notes Siegel, "is Tony nominee Stephen Mo Hanan, one of the original stars of Cats [Bustopher Jones], who did a masterful impersonation of singing sensation Al Jolson in Jolson & Company. We’re introducing Nightlife Award-winner Liz Lark Brown to the Broadway community; and delighted to introduce another newcomer, Los Angeles actor/recording artist Kevin Earley, who’s been making his mark here."
These artists join Tony noms Baldwin and Steggert. The Denman duo are co-directing/co-choreographing.
Among the classic songs first performed in ’21 are "My Man" and "Second Hand Rose," signature tunes for the legendary Fanny Brice in the Ziegfeld Follies; "April Showers," "Avalon," "California, Here I Come" and "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goo’bye," all introduced by Jolson; Eubie Blake’s "I’m Just Wild about Harry" from Shuffle Along; and, in a salute to Irving Berlin’s first Music Box Revue [at his Music Box Theatre], there’ll be "Say It with Music" performed by Davie, and a tap number to Berlin’s "Everybody Step" by dancer extraordinaire Jones.
Davie and Earley will perform duets from Romberg’s Blossom Time, one of the most famous operettas of the era – so popular that it toured for a quarter of a century.
The BBTY season kick off will also be a love letter to Town Hall, the "people’s hall," which is beginning a year-long celebration of its 90th birthday. Under A.D. Lawrence Zucker, this non-profit org serves the City with concerts, dance, lectures, film classes and education in one of its most acoustically-sound venues.
Upcoming at BBTY: Broadway Musical of 1932 , March 21; Broadway Musicals of 1982, May 16; and Broadway Musicals of 1997, June 20. The majority of the BBTY concerts are available on CD from Original Cast Records [available at the kiosk in the T.H. lobby].
Season subscriptions are available at www.the-townhall-nyc.org. Single tkts, $45-$55, are available at the box office, through Ticketmaster, (800) 982-2787 or @ www.ticketmaster.com. BBTY lead sponsors are Bank of America and the Edythe Kenner Foundation.
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