Lyric Stage opens its twentieth anniversary season with Frank Loesser's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, featuring restored material and the 38-piece Lyric Stage Orchestra playing Don Walker's original Broadway orchestrations. Performances are tonight, September 7-16 at the Irving Arts Center's Carpenter Performance Hall. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office @ 972-252-2787.
Frank Loesser chose to follow his smash hit GUYS AND DOLLS with something completely different: a musical adaptation of Sidney Howard's 1923 Pulitzer Prize winning play "They Knew What They Wanted." Loesser took Howard's play about Tony (Bill Nolte), a middle-aged vintner, whose mail-order marriage proposal to Rosabella (Amber Nicole Guest) is accepted under the mistaken assumption that a photo of his young, handsome foreman Joe (Doug Carpenter) is her intended husband and created THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. THE MOST HAPPY FELLA is filled with sweeping ballads, intense dramatic arias and tuneful, splashy Broadway-style numbers including "Big D" and "Standing on the Corner." THE MOST HAPPY FELLA opened at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on May 3, 1956 to rapturous reviews.
Loesser referred to THE MOST HAPPY FELLA as a "musical musical" due to the almost continuous music of the score. Orchestrator Don Walker called Marie's cut aria "You look at me with the eyes of a stranger" "one of the most marvelous things Frank ever wrote." Lyric Stage has worked with the Frank Loesser estate to restore this material for the Lyric Stage production.
Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias will conduct the 38 piece Lyric Stage orchestra. The Carpenter Performance Hall has an open orchestra pit, so audiences will experience this glorious music performed by an unamplified orchestra. Don Walker, one of Broadway's greatest orchestrators ("Carousel," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Music Man") called his accomplishment with THE MOST HAPPY FELLA "One of the landmarks of what I've done in this business. I play it, the 3-record complete recording, once a year, just to remind myself of what I did."
Cheryl Denson will direct and Len Pfluger will choreograph Lyric Stage's production. The cast includes Broadway veteran Bill Nolte (Tony), Amber Nicole Guest (Rosabella), Catherine Carpenter Cox (Cleo), Alex Organ (Herman), Doug Carpenter (Joe) and Jodi C. Wright (Marie). Also appearing in the production are Aaron Alarcon, Rebekah Ankrom, Stephen Bates, Mallory Brophy, MerEdith Browning, John Campione, Daron Cockerell, Vicki Dean, Dayton Dobbs, Tyler Donahue, Danielle Estes, Michelle Foard, Kevin Friemel, Martin Guerra, Maranda Harrison, Doug Henry, Joseph Holt, Gerard Lucero, Megan Magill, Delynda Moravec, Len Pfluger, Diane Powell, Mandy Rausch, Neil Rogers, Daniel Saroni, Billy Shipp, Max Swarner, Jessica Taylor, Keith J. Warren and James Williams.
THE MOST HAPPY FELLA runs tonight, September 7-16, 2012 in the Irving Arts Center's Carpenter Performance Hall. Performances are September 7, 8 13, 14 & 15 @ 8:00 PM and September 9 & 16 @ 2:30 PM.