By Andrew Gans
03 Feb 2013
The 5 PM performance, according to press notes, journeys "through the last 100 years of musical theatre through the lives and music of Richard Rodgers (Oklahoma, The Sound of Music), his daughter Mary Rodgers (Once Upon A Mattress) and his grandson Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza)."
Conceived and written by Adrian Marchuk, the all-Canadian cast includes Marchuk, Sara Farb, Jeigh Madjus, Samantha Hill and David Atkinson (musical director/arranger).
"I began working on the project at the end of 2009 while playing Frankie Valli in the Toronto production of Jersey Boys," explained Marchuk in a previous statement. "I had been approached by a local theatre company, Acting Up Stage…to perform at a cabaret series during their run of The Light in the Piazza. I came up with the idea of telling the unique story of Richard Rodgers and his family — the only family to have three generations of award-winning Broadway composers. I collaborated with pianist David Atkinson and we began weaving together the stories and songs from the beginning of Rodgers' career with Larry Hart in 1925 to the most recent Tony-Award winning success by his grandson, Adam Guettel, in 2006. We brought on three more singers to help bring to life just a few dozen of the over 1000 songs composed by the Rodgers family. The show was performed under the title Words & Music for one night only at a 200-seat theatre in downtown Toronto. The response from the audience was electrifying, and I was immediately approached about a remount. Although my commitments to Jersey Boys kept me busy for the next year, the show was produced in late 2010 with its new title where it received a standing ovation and cheers from a rapturous audience of 400 at the Toronto Centre For The Arts. Since then, the show has been produced multiple times in Canada and I am now thrilled to be able to bring the show to New York’s historic Birdland Jazz Club which just happens to be ten blocks from where Rodgers & Hart's first hit song, 'Manhattan', was first performed."