Historical hijinks abound in PLEASURES AND PALACES, the unknown masterpiece from the composer of GUYS AND DOLLS. Lyric Stage presents Frank Loesser's PLEASURES AND PALACES in concert tonight, January 24-27, 2013. Performances are January 24, 25 & 26 @ 8:00 PM and January 27 @ 2:30 PM in the Irving Arts Center's Carpenter Performance Hall, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, TX. Tickets are available at www.lyricstage.org or by calling the box office @ 972-252-2787.
In this comic look at actual historical events, American John Paul Jones enters into the court and service of Russian Empress Catherine the Great to fight the Turks and recapture Constantinople for Russia, and becomes involved in political intrigue and romantic complications. Catherine is in love with Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, who is enamored with the voluptuous Sura, who finds herself torn between Potemkin and Jones.
Originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, the Broadway-bound PLEASURES AND PALACES opened on March 11, 1965 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit, closed there on April 10, and has never been seen or heard since. Lyric Stage's production of this "new" Frank Loesser musical will feature a 40-piece acoustic orchestra playing Philip J. Lang's original orchestrations.
PLEASURES AND PALACES has a hysterical book by Frank Loesser and Sam Spewack, and a "new" Broadway score by Loesser. Philip J. Lang's sparkling orchestrations feature the full spectrum of the orchestra, going from lush strings to jazzy brass and thundering percussion, to a solo Russian-themed mandolin, and even bongo drums. Based on Spewack's 1961 play Once There Was a Russian, the musical takes its title from the opening lyrics of the 1823 song "Home, Sweet Home": "Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."
Lyric Stage's commitment to preserving the American musical led to the rediscovery of PLEASURES AND PALACES. While working on the restoration of the GYPSY score in the spring of 2011, Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias met with Joseph Weiss and his assistant Jason Buell of Jule Styne Enterprises and Frank Loesser Enterprises. Weiss told Dias that Jo Sullivan Loesser, Frank's widow, had been searching for the right music director and theater to present PLEASURES AND PALACES. Based on Dias' meticulous work on GYPSY, Weiss thought he and Lyric Stage would be a perfect fit for PLEASURES AND PALACES. PLEASURES AND PALACES follows Lyric Stage's recent triumph premiering the fully restored version of Frank Loesser's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA.
Ann Nieman will direct and choreograph the 43 person cast. Christopher Carl returns to Lyric Stage to play Potemkin after starring as Haj in last season's KISMET. Luann Aronson, last seen at Lyric Stage as Mrs. Anna in THE KING AND I, will play Catherine the Great. Fresh from his acclaimed performances as Curly in OKLAHOMA! and Thomas Jefferson in 1776, Bryant Martin is back as John Paul Jones. Danielle Estes will play Sura. Playing featured roles are Brian Mathis, Christopher Curtis, James Williams, Ben Phillips, and Randy Pearlman, and also in the cast are Aaron Alarcon, Rebekah Ankrom, Chelsea Coyne, Vicki Dean, Peter di Cesare, Dayton Dobbs, Emily Ford, Anthony Fortino, Doug Fowler, Kevin Friemel, Clinton Greenspan, Martin Guerra, Doug Henry, Colleen LeBleu, Jessica Beth Lemmons, Laura Lites, Gerard Lucero, Morgan Mabry Mason, Susan Metzger, Mallory Michaellann, Delynda Johnson Moravec, Preston Pickett, Michael Pricer, Stephen Raikes, Jennifer Randolph, Neil Rogers, Daniel Saroni, Scott Sutton, Dana Taylor, Jay Taylor, Jessica Taylor, Vernicia Vernon, Jason Villarreal, Natasha Wells and Aaron C. White.