THE CATHERINE B. REYNOLDS FOUNDATION SERIES FOR ARTISTIC EXCELLENCE
Broadway: Three Generations
Directed by Lonny Price
Guest Starring Shirley Jones
Featuring abridged concert versions of
George and Ira Gershwin's
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Book by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan
Bye Bye Birdie
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Book by Michael Stewart
Music by Henry Krieger
Book and lyrics by Bill Russell
After nearly 16 months of renovations, the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater reopens its doors with a grand celebration of three generations of Broadway composers. This eagerly anticipated Washington event hosted by Academy Award winner Shirley Jones will present abridged concert versions of three musicals, all in one spectacular evening!
The festivities begin with Girl Crazy, the Gershwin brothers' classic 1930s musical that weaves together such popular songs as "Embraceable You" and "I Got Rhythm." Max von Essen (The Kennedy Center's Mame) will portray the role of Danny Churchill, while Randy Graff (Tony winner for City of Angels) will play Kate Fothergill, the role that launched Ethel Merman's career. Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me) will perform the role of Slick Fothergill. Ned Eisenberg (Awake and Sing!) will play Gieber Goldfarb. Jenn Colella (High Fidelity) appears as Molly Gray.
Representing Broadway's "second generation" is Bye Bye Birdie, which won four Tony Awards in 1961, including Best Musical. Featuring such hit songs as "Put On a Happy Face" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do," it follows rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie and a publicity stunt in which he will kiss one lucky girl before being drafted into the army. For the Kennedy Center performances, the role of Rosie will be played by Leslie Kritzer (A Catered Affair), James Snyder (Cry-Baby) appears as Conrad, Laura Osnes (Grease) plays Kim, Brooks Ashmanskas will portray Albert Peterson, Lisa Brescia (The Times They Are A-Changin') appears as Doris MacAfee, Ned Eisenberg plays Harry MacAfee, and Bobby Steggert (110 in the Shade) will perform the role of Hugo.
The evening comes to a close with the "third generation": Henry Krieger and Bill Russell's Side Show. Based on the true life story of vaudeville entertainers and conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, it earned four Tony nominations in 1997, including Best Musical, Book, Original Score, and in a first, a co-nomination for Best Actress. Jenn Colella and Lisa Brescia will play the roles of Daisy and Violet Hilton. Bobby Steggert appears as Buddy Foster and Max von Essen plays Terry Conner. Both Tony nominees, Michael McElroy (Big River) will portray Jake while Michael Mulheren (Kiss Me, Kate) appears as The Boss.
Part of Prelude 2008: Arts Across America.
Performance Timing: 2 hours, 50 minutes, including two 15-minute intermissions.