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Do I Hear a Waltz Cast

We’re delighted to announce that Claybourne Elder, Melissa Errico, Sarah Hunt, Zachary Infante, Cass Morgan, Richard Poe, Michael Rosen, Sarah Stiles, and Richard Troxell will star in Do I Hear a Waltz? from May 11-15. The Encores! production of Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s romantic 1965 musical will be directed by Evan Cabnet, with choreography by Chase Brock and music direction by Rob Berman.

Our insanely gifted Waltz cast includes Sondheim veteran Claybourne Elder (Road Show), recent Tony Award nominee Sarah Stiles (Hand to God), and opera star Richard Troxell (Rigoletto)—but we’re particularly thrilled that Melissa Errico is returning to City Center, exactly twenty years after her transcendent performance in the Encores! production of One Touch of Venus. As the Roman goddess of love, Errico received critical raves and became an “overnight sensation,” in the words of The New York Times. (By the third performance, she was getting entrance applause.) Errico remains the only actor to win a Lucille Lortel Award for an Encores! show.

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April 4, 2016 by New York City Center
Rodgers and Sondheim Work

Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim consult during rehearsals for Do I Hear a Waltz? (Friedman-Abeles/©Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)

This May, the ravishingly romantic 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? will return to the New York stage for the first time in decades. Below, Encores! Music Director Rob Berman explains why the show is ripe for rediscovery.

The great collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein concluded with The Sound of Music in 1959 and the death of Hammerstein in 1960. Rodgers’ next effort was writing music and lyrics for No Strings, which opened in 1962 (and was presented by Encores! in 2003). In 1965, he collaborated with the young lyricist Stephen Sondheim (to whom Hammerstein had been a mentor) on Do I Hear A Waltz?, based on the 1952 Arthur Laurents play The Time of the Cuckoo. By this time, Sondheim had already contributed the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959), and had written both music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum (1962) and Anyone Can Whistle (1964).

Anyone Can Whistle (presented by Encores! in 2010) was also written (and directed) by Laurents and although it was not a success, it was an experimental, modern, boundary-pushing work with a musically complex score. One can imagine how these two artists might have been attracted to musicalizing the adult, sophisticated story of Do I Hear a Waltz?: the study of a repressed, neurotic, and romantically unfulfilled American, Leona Samish, who travels to Venice and has an affair with an older married Italian man. (Laurents’ original play was also adapted into a film, Summertime, starring Katharine Hepburn).

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April 1, 2016 by New York City Center
Daniels and Miranda Photos

This spring, Encores! is reviving 1776, Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone’s irresistible Tony Award-winning musical about how the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and gave birth to a new nation. To celebrate its return to New York, we brought together two extraordinary men of the theater—both of whom have logged a lot of hours in Revolutionary-era frock coats. William Daniels played John Adams in the original Broadway production of 1776, and Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and stars in the Broadway juggernaut Hamilton. In a recent phone call, Daniels and Miranda traded thoughts on why 1776 works so brilliantly, how the musical helped shape Hamilton, and what it’s like to perform for a sitting U.S. President.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: Mr. Daniels, I’m talking to you from the lip of the stage of the 46th Street Theatre—

WILLIAM DANIELS: (laughs) Oh, my god.

LM: —where you did 1776, and where we’re doing Hamilton. It’s now the Richard Rodgers. My first question is: which dressing room was yours? Were you stage right?

WD: I think I was. Stage right, with a little door facing the audience.

LM: You either have our stage manager’s office or you have George Washington’s current dressing room.

WD: (laughs) How are you holding up, doing eight a week?

LM: It’s a lot. But, you know…it’s all my fault. I really have no right to complain. I wrote the words that I say, and I gave myself a lot of them.

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March 16, 2016 by New York City Center
Ben West Painting

Benjamin West’s unfinished 1783-1784 painting of the delegations at the Treaty of Paris.

Rose Hovick really did love Chinese food, and Fanny Brice was actually fired from a chorusline after it was discovered that she couldn’t dance. Still, despite the crumbs of truth sprinkled into musicals like Gypsy and Funny Girl, we don’t exactly look to Broadway shows for historical accuracy. 1776 may be unique, then, in that its creators were such devoted sticklers for the truth; composer Sherman Edwards even brought textbooks to rehearsals and handed them out to the cast. When the show’s libretto was published in 1970, Edwards and his librettist Peter Stone wrote a fascinating essay about what is true, what’s almost true, and what was cheerfully invented in 1776. With an Encores! revival on the way, we’re pleased to reprint their essay.

The first question we are asked by those who have seen—or read—1776 is invariably: “Is it true? Did it really happen that way?”

The answer is: Yes.

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March 9, 2016 by New York City Center
1776 on Stage Casting

We’re delighted to announce the cast of the Encores! production of 1776, the classic musical about how the founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence and gave birth to a new nation. Tony Award nominee Santino Fontana (Frozen, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) will return to Encores! as the “obnoxious and disliked” Massachusetts delegate John Adams, with five-time Emmy Award winner John Larroquette making his Encores! debut as the spectacularly witty Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania.

Along with Fontana and Larroquette, 1776 will star Terence Archie (Dr. Josiah Bartlett), John Behlmann (Thomas Jefferson), Larry Bull (Col. Thomas McKean), Nikki Renée Daniels (Martha Jefferson), André De Shields (Stephen Hopkins), Macintyre Dixon (Andrew McNair), Alexander Gemignani (Edward Rutledge), John Hickok (Dr. Lyman Hall), John Hillner (Lewis Morris), Kevin Ligon (George Read), John-Michael Lyles (A Courier), Laird Mackintosh (Judge James Wilson), Michael McCormick (John Hancock), Michael Medeiros (Caesar Rodney), Christiane Noll (Abigail Adams), Bryce Pinkham (John Dickinson), Wayne Pretlow (Roger Sherman), Tom Alan Robbins (Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon), Robert Sella (Charles Thomson), Ric Stoneback (Samuel Chase), Jubilant Sykes (Richard Henry Lee), Vishal Vaidya (A Leather Apron), Nicholas Ward (Joseph Hewes), and Jacob Keith Watson (Robert Livingston).

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February 29, 2016 by New York City Center
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