42nd Street Moon presents the American premiere of a full production of THREE SISTERS, with music by Jerome Kern, and book/lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. San Francisco audiences first enjoyed this little-known Kern and Hammerstein musical when 42nd Street Moon's Lost Musical Series presented the American premiere in 1995, in a concert format. With the help of a recent National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the company is now able to mount the first full production ever seen in the United States. Low-priced previews begin November 30, and the show opens on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 6 pm at the Eureka Theatre. It runs through December 18. To view production photos, look below.
The musical THREE SISTERS (not to be confused with the Chekhov play of the same name) opened in 1934 at the Drury Lane Theater in London, featuring British stars Stanley Holloway and Adele Dixon, together with Broadway favorite, Charlotte Greenwood. The intention was to mount the show in New York after a successful London run, but mixed reviews by the British press closed it after two months. Despite the praise of American critics, it never made its planned American debut.
"We presented THREE SISTERS in a staged concert in 1995 - the first production ever since the London original in 1934," said Moon's Artistic Director, Greg MacKellan, who will also direct the show. "Now we are bringing it back in a newly-restored, full premiere presentation."
MacKellan noted that there are a few similarities to one of Hammerstein's famous collaborations with Richard Rodgers in THREE SISTERS. "It's interesting to see how the relationship of Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan - the central love story in Carousel - is anticipated by the story of Gypsy Hood and Mary Barbour in THREE SISTERS. Liliom - the source play for Carousel - had just been revived in New York in 1932, and I think Liliom and Julie must have been on Hammerstein's mind as he was creating Mary and Gypsy."
The story is set during the World War I era in England and involves a traveling carnival photographer, his three spirited young daughters and their romantic adventures. The youngest daughter becomes involved with a traveling entertainer, who deserts her on their wedding night.
THREE SISTERS introduced standards such as "Lonely Feet" and "I Won't Dance," the latter used and made famous by Fred Astaire in Roberta. The score also included "Hand in Hand" and "What Good Are Words?" which were popular in England at the time.
Brittany Danielle, who recently appeared in Smokey Joe's Café in the East Bay, makes her Moon debut as Dorrie Barbour. Riley Krull, seen recently in What a Swell Party: The Cole Salon plays Mary; while Kate Paul, who was in last season's production of Forum, makes her Second Company appearance as Tiny Barbour. Michael Patrick Gaffney, a featured actor with many Bay Area companies, portrays Will Barbour, the girls' father.
Danny Cozart (seen at Moon in Babes in Arms) co-stars as Gypsy Hood, while Michael Kern Cassidy (Nymph Errant, Out of This World) and Christopher Reber are featured as Dorrie and Tiny's suitors. Eighteen-year company veteran and audience favorite Bill Fahrner appears as George Purvis, and Tony Panighetti makes his sixth Moon appearance as Alf Barbour. Other cast members include Kayla Berghoff, Peter Budinger, Janine Burgener, Jessica Powell and Michael Rhone.
Joining Director Greg MacKellan on the creative team are David Dobrusky (Music Director) and Zack Thomas Wilde (Choreographer). Lighting is designed by Ellen Brooks, sets by Ron Gasparinetti, and costumes by Scarlett Kellum.
The 2011-12 Season will continue in the New Year with The Best of Times, a salute to Jerry Herman, on January 26 at the Alcazar Theatre, followed by productions of SUGAR, and ZORBA.
Tickets for THREE SISTERS ranging in price from $20 - $50 may be purchased through the Box Office at 415/255-8207 (Tues. - Fri. from noon to 5 pm), or through the website (no order fees) <http://www.42ndstmoon.org> . The Eureka Theatre is located at 215 Jackson Street.
42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre, contributing to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimate productions of "Uncommon Musicals" -- classic and rarely performed shows by the great 20th Century composers and lyricists. Through productions, educational programs, and community outreach, the company is committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage. Since 1993 the company has staged more than 115 musicals, as well as several revues celebrating the dazzling legacy of the 20th Century's greatest musical theater composers and lyricists.
Photo Credit: DavidAllenStudio.com
Fortune-teller Zenida Grundy (Janine Burgener) casts a jealous eye when Gypsy Hood (Danny Cozart) takes notice of local Derby girl Mary Barbour (Riley Krull) in 42nd Street Moonâ€™s production THREE SISTERS
Mary (Riley Krull), Dorrie (Brittany Danielle) and Tiny (Kate Paul)