Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fall 2010 Musicals in Mufti at the York Theatre

The York Theatre has announced its Fall 2010 season of Musicals in Mufti.  I'm especially looking forward to the series this season since The York, located at 59th & Lexington under St. Peter's,  is only a blocks from my current office.

Mufti means "in street clothes, without the usual trappings."  It's a staged concert and is great fun in this intimate theatre.  The shows this season will be Coco, I Remember Mama, The Roar of the Greaspaint - The Smell fo the Crowd, and I Love My Wife.

I'm especially looking forward to Coco, the musical about Coco Chanel with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by André Previn.   It was the only musical that Katharine Hepburn did.  It ran at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for 40 previews before it finally opened in December 1969 and ran for 329 performances.  Katharine was nominated for a Tony, but was beat by Lauren Bacall in Applause

Impressively, Katharine used her clout and status to make a social statement.  From Playbill:

Hepburn gave a speech from the stage of the Hellinger after a performance on May 8, 1970. She was asked by actor Keir Dullea to request a moment of silence in memory of the four students shot by the National Guard earlier that week on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Her speech, as read by Caldwell, said, in part:

". . . A few days ago four kids were shot and killed in Kent State College, Ohio. Now you may call them rebels or rabble-rousers or anything you name. Nevertheless they were our kids and our responsibility. Our generation is responsible and we must take time to pause and reflect and do something. You can pray, but we must think — and together — for if we don't, we are lost. The mayor joins with me and the rest of the cast in asking you to stay for a few minutes silence . . . If any of you wishes to leave you are free to do so. But if you do leave, I know you will still think about it . . ."
Ironically, the previous season Jerry Herman's musical Dear World played at the Mark Hellinger, although it only lasted for 132 performances and closed in May of 1969.  Dear World is based on the Jean Giraudoux play, The Madwoman of Chaillot.   Angela Lansbury played the leading lady, Countess Aurelia and won the Tony.  Katherine Hepburn played the Countess in the film version of the play also released in 1969. 

Perhaps Mufti will bring Dear World to life soon as well. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Kent State University Museum is opening an exhibit on Katharine Hepburn called "Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stge and Screen." It will run from Oct 2, 2010 to Sept 4, 2011. The exhibit features Miss Hepburn's personal collection of her performance clothes, given to the museum by her estate in 2008. Among the items are her costumes from Coco designed by Coco Chanel herself.