Babes in Arms
McKechnie, Lopez and Walsh Are Among Babes in Arms
for Encores! Revival Feb. 11-14
gang of vaudeville orphans singing the hit score of Rodgers and
Harts Babes in Arms, presented Feb. 11-14 by Encores! Great American
Musicals in Concert, was announced Jan. 29, and A Chorus Line
veterans Donna McKechnie and Priscilla Lopez are in the mix.
McKechnie and Don Correia (Singin in the Rain) play the parents of
juvenile character Valentine (played by Australian cabaret star David
Campbell), and Lopez (A Chorus Line) and dancer-choreographer Thommie
Walsh (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine) play the parents of
Vals love interest, Billie, who is yet to be cast.
Its Billie and Val who get the shows choicest numbers: Billie sings
My Funny Valentine and The Lady is a Tramp and Val gets Where or
When, All at Once and the title song.
The more youthful part of the company includes Melissa Rain Anderson,
Matthew Ballinger, Kevin Cahoon (The Lion King, Hedwig and the Angry
Inch), Christopher Fitzgerald (Corpus Christi), dancers Scott
Irby-Ranniar and Cartier Anthony Williams, Shaun Powell (A Flea in
Her Ear) and Jessica Stone (How to Succeed...). Most are 30 or younger.
The original 289-performance production was such a hit partly because
it starred unknown performers (Mitzi Green, Ray Heatherton) in their
teens or early 20s. The story concerns kids of vaudeville performers
who put on a show to stop from being sent to a work farm during the
Depression (while their folks are performing with the Federal Theatre Project).
Richard Riehle plays the local sheriff in the Encores! production.
The musical comedy will be directed and choreographed by Encores!
artistic director Kathleen Marshall and music-directed by Rob Fisher.
The song list for the 1937 score also includes Way Out West and
Johnny One-Note (both sung by Melissa Rain Anderson, as Baby Rose), I
Wish I Were in Love Again (sung by Fitzgerald and Stone), Imagine and
You Are So Fair.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization confirmed that Encores!,
which produces concert stagings of classic, seldom-revived or
neglected musicals, would be using the original script and score, not
the revised stock and amateur script (which interpolates Youre
Nearer) that has circulated. Both versions are available to producers.
Encores! will include some kind of version of a song called All Dark
People, now listed as Light On Our Feet, performed by dancers Irby
Ranniar (as Irving DeQuincey) and Williams (as brother Ivor
DeQuincey). That song, originated by Harold and Fayard Nicholas, has
the line all dark people is light on their feet and has been excised
from licensed versions (including the Evans Haile studio recording)
due to its racial references.
Performances are at City Center. For ticket information, call (212)