THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF SONG Begins Dec 13 at St. Luke's
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by BWW News Desk
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF SONG: The Music of Harold Arlen, a musical revue featuring Stormy Weather, Come Rain or Come Shine, Paper Moon, Accentuate-The-Positive, Lets Fall in Love, and all the much-loved tunes from THE WIZARD OF OZ, begins previews at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 West 46th Street, NYC on Thursday, December 13 and opens officially on Thursday, January 10 at 8 PM.
The Wonderful Wizard of Song moves from The Cotton Club, thru Harold Arlen's Hollywood Years to Broadway, sharing inside stories of how some of the world's most beloved songs were created as well as sharing rare behind the scenes footage from The Wizard of Oz taken by Harold Arlen himself. Featuring The Three Crooners, George Bugatti, Marcus Goldhaber and Joe Shepherd, with Antoinette Henry, the Arlen revue makes its New York debut after a national tour to 18 cities and a month-long run at the Debbie Reynolds Theatre in Las Vegas.
Produced by Yellow Brick Productions in association with Shea Arender, Steven Colucci and Jerry Rosenberg, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF SONG has direction & musical staging by Broadway veteran Gene Castle. The original concept is by Nigel Wright, Sam Arlen and George Bugatti with special thanks to Harold Arlen's son Sam Arlen for all archival and historical content.
The Three Crooners are headed by creator George Bugatti who is an American singer, pianist and songwriter with three CD's in wide release. His latest CD, "A Night for Romance", was produced by Nigel Wright (Executive Music Producer of American Idol and Warner Bros' Phantom of the Opera) and is distributed by Universal/Verese Sarabande. In 1998, Steve Wynn invited Bugatti, Michael Feinstein and John Pizzerelli to open Wynn's Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas where he recorded "Bugatti Live on the Strip" produced by Paul Anka Productions. His first CD, "Oh, What a Night for Love", was produced by The Tonight Show's Steve Allen who discovered George at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Bugatti headlined with his big band at The Sands, Atlantic City and made his NYC Debut at Carnegie Hall in 2003 playing piano and singing. His current CD, "A Night for Romance", features "Two Shots of Happy" (originally written for Frank Sinatra) by U2 front-man Bono and given to George when Sinatra passed away. "The Wonderful Wizard of Song" is a labor of love for Bugatti who has written, directed and performed in the various versions of the show all over the country. Recently, Bugatti starred with The Rochester Symphony in "Over The Rainbow" produced by Todd Gershwin and Dan Chilewich. George is also co-founder, along with Sam Arlen, of The Harold Arlen Foundation/American Songbook Foundation.
Marcus Goldhaber has appeared in NYC at Birdland, The Kitano, The Metropolitan Room, Iridium, The Laurie Beechman, The Cutting Room, The Makor/Steinhardt Center, The Carnegie Club and The Lenox Lounge as well as in Boston, Chicago, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. His theatrical credits include: THE PAJAMA GAME, KISS ME KATE, SINGING IN THE RAIN, MY WAY (Sinatra tribute) and I LEFT MY HEART (Tony Bennett tribute).
Joe Shepherd is from College Station, TX and has his BFA in Dance from Sam HoustonState University. He has danced professionally in Houston, Texas with modern companies Hope Stone and NobleMotion. Joe has also worked in regional theatre, performing with TUTS in BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, as well as appearing in other Texas venues in musicals such as WEST SIDE STORY, THE FANTASTICKS, and many more.
Antoinette Henry has played Ethel Waters in THE MELODY LINGERS ON, Martha Fae Williams in ALL AMERICAN GIRLS, Muzzy Van Hossemere in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, and the Best Friend in Jazmine Sullivan's Holdin You Down Music Video. She was also deemed one of the top Black Bloggers to watch in 2012 by The Root.com.
Director and Musical Stager GENE CASTLE grew up on the Broadway stage as a featured actor and lead dancer in several original Broadway shows including GYPSY, FLOWER DRUM SONG, HIGH SPIRITS, HENRY SWEET HENRY, GEORGE M! & OH KAY!. In LA he choreographed STRIKE UP THE BAND for REPRISE/LA, MOVIN' ON, an original Sondheim musical for the Laguna Playhouse, THE DYBBUK at the Mark Taper Forum, CINDERELLA at the Long Beach CLO, OH COWARD! at the Coronet, as well as tributes to Ginger Rogers and other celebrity award shows at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Gene wrote, directed & choreographed nine shows for DR PEPPER & thirteen for PRINCESS CRUISES and won the BAY AREA THEATRE CRITICS OUTER CIRCLE AWARDS for BEST DIRECTION, BEST CHOREOGRAPHY and BEST MUSICAL for his production of ON THE TOWN for the San Jose CLO. Since moving back to New York in 2008, he directed, choreographed [& performed in] TIN PAN ALLEY & BABALU-CY Off Broadway & did the musical staging for LOVE DIVIDED BY, DIETRICH & CHEVALIER and DANNY AND SYLVIA, also Off Broadway, as well as the national tour of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. Other choreographic credits include the EMMY AWARDS starring Jason Alexander, the television specials BONNIE AND THE FRANKLINS & the DOC SEVERINSEN SHOW, and the film KISS ME GOODBYE starring Sally Field and James Caan.
Born in 1905, Harold Arlen began playing with local bands, movie houses, vaudeville troupes and cabaret as a teenager in his home town of Buffalo, NY. His early collaboration with Ted Koehler, beginning in 1930, lead to writing such hits as "Between the Devil and the Deep blue Sea" and "I've Got the world on A String" for the famed Cotton Club In 1939 he won the Oscar for Best Original Song for "Over The Rainbow" from THE WIZARD OF OZ and earned 8 more Academy Award nominations including "The Man That Got Away" from "A Star is Born". Arlen was enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971 and passed away in 1986 at age 81. George Bugatti, Co-Founder (with Sam Arlen) of the Harold Arlen Foundation, said: "If Arlen has just written "Over the Rainbow" he would be assured of his place in the Great American Songbook. Aside from being Judy Garland's life-long signature, Rainbow was rated #1 by the Recording Industry Association of America and the named one of the "Songs of the Century" by the National Endowment for the Arts."
The performance schedule for THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF SONG is: Mondays @ 7, Wednesdays @ 2 and Thursdays @ 8. Tickets at $69.50 & $39.50 are available through TeleCharge at www.Telecharge.com or (212) 239-6200. (The performance on December 20th will begin at 7 PM instead of 8 PM.)