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Home > Blog > February 2017
Performing Arts Blog

This summer, City Center’s acclaimed Encores! Off-Center series will return with concert revivals of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins (July 12-15), Kirsten ChildsThe Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (July 26-27), and Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s Really Rosie (August 2-5). We asked incoming Off-Center artistic director Michael Friedman to share a few thoughts about why these musicals matter.

For the last four years, as a happy audience member at Encores! Off-Center, I couldn’t wait to find out what unexpected delights would come each season. What unmissable performance, what glorious score? Off-Center, City Center’s summer series of landmark Off-Broadway musicals, has grown from a brilliant idea to an essential institution, a program as generous, ferocious, surprising, beautiful, and brilliant as its first artistic director, Jeanine Tesori. Jeanine, like everyone who brought this program to life, believes in the musical as one of the central American art forms, and one that encompasses a much larger, more inclusive body of work than we usually remember.

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February 27, 2017 by New York City Center

Casting announced for the Encores! production of The New Yorkers

We’re delighted to announce the cast of the Encores! production of The New Yorkers, the madcap Prohibition musical that introduced such Cole Porter standards as “Love for Sale” and “I Happen to Like New York.” Virtually unseen since its 1930 premiere, the show centers on featherbrained socialite Alice Wentworth (Olivier Award nominee Scarlett Strallen), whose bootlegger beau Al Spanish (Tam Mutu, Doctor Zhivago) leads her on a madcap romp from Park Avenue to Sing Sing and back again. Along the way, the couple encounters a parade of Depression-era archetypes: the vaudevillian Jimmie Deegan (three-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin), the gangster Feet McGeegan (Arnie Burton, The 39 Steps), and a lady of the evening (Cyrille Aimée, A Bed and A Chair).

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February 23, 2017 by New York City Center


Roger Miller at home in 1965, serenading his Grammy Awards. (Ralph Crane)

“I’m not sure I can do this thing,” Roger Miller said the first time we met to discuss Big River. “I’ve only seen two Broadway musicals in my life—one was My Fair Lady and the other was George in the Park with Sunday.”

Roger, of course, was pretending he was simpler than he was, because that’s how a Good Ol’ Boy shows he’s smarter than you—with irony. Just as Huckleberry Finn, in Mark Twain’s novel, declares he’s bad after making the best choice of his life: “All right, then, I’ll go to hell…I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it….And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again.”

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February 7, 2017 by New York City Center