“That’s Entertainment” might not only be the most famous song from the classic MGM film “The Band Wagon,” but it perfectly sums up what audiences should expect from the new stage version of this beloved backstage musical, which will be presented by New York City Center Encores for a 12-performance run, November 6-16. Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, the former artistic director of Encores, serves as the production’s director and choreographer.
In this revised and expanded version of Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s original script, award-winning playwright Douglas Carter Beane has crafted a delightful confection about a washed-up film star named Tony Hunter (played by Brian Stokes Mitchell) who agrees to work on a new musical alongside young dancer-turned-actress Gabrielle Gerard (Laura Osnes), bickering co-writers Lili and Lester Martin (Tracey Ullman and Michael McKean), egotistical British director Jeffrey Cordoba (Tony Sheldon), choreographer Paul Byrd (Michael Berresse) and harried stage manager Hal Meadows (Don Stephenson). To say the results are both romantic and hilarious is an understatement.
The stage production will include such great Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz songs from the film,“By Myself,” “Triplets,” and “Louisiana Hayride,” along with some of the pair’s lesser-known collaborations as “Rainy Day” and “Something You Never Knew Before.”
At an October 24 press event, Theater Pizzazz got a chance to talk to the cast and the creative team about this exciting enterprise, as well as hear some of that enchanting music. Come jump on “The Band Wagon” with us!
*Photos/Video: Sandi Durell