Artistic Director Sean Murray is pleased to announce a concert staged reading of the hilarious and rarely performed musical, ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, with book and lyrics by Betty Comdon and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. The delightfully comedic romp will be performed free to attendees of Cygnet Theatre's Mini-Benefit, with proceeds supporting the Storytelling on the Green Program. The Mini-Benefit and Concert Reading will be presented TWO NIGHTS ONLY on Mondays, November 1st and 8th at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. The Mini-Benefit begins at 6:30pm and the Concert Reading begins at 7:30pm.
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY involves the behind-the-scenes relationship of a temperamental actress turned Hollywood starlet named Lily Garland and the down-and-out theatrical impresario, Oscar Jaffe, who once made her a star. It has been referred to as part operetta, part farce and part screw-ball comedy. Cy Coleman, who originally refused when asked to compose the score, changed his mind when he discovered the larger-than-life personalities of the main characters. The location of the play drew him, as well. Set on the 20th Century Limited, a steam engine bound for New York City, Coleman explained that the rhythm and patter of the locomotive created the music. "I thought - ah! comic opera!"
Though rarely performed, ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, which opened on Broadway in 1978 starring John Cullum, Madeline Kahn, Imogene Coca and Kevin Kline, earned multiple Tony Awards including Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Scenic Design and Best Actor for both Cullum and Kline. Cygnet's concert reading will feature Eileen Bowman as Lily Garland and Sean Murray as Oscar Jaffe. Sandy Campbell (The Norman Conquests, Noises Off, Mauritius), Melissa Fernandes (It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, A Little Night Music, The Book of Liz), Lance Arthur Smith (Bed and Sofa) and Kerry Meads also headline. Mark Danisovszky will serve as Music Director and Artistic Director Sean Murray will direct.
Proceeds from the Mini-Benefit support Cygnet Theatre's Storytelling on the Green. The initiative, which began in 2009 in collaboration with the 4th-Grade-in-the-Park-Program, provides free abridged, humorous retellings of Shakespearean classics performed by two actors in mid-19th century attire. The lively performances have been delighting students and park visitors alike weekly, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 11:15am and 11:45am in the Old Town State Historic Park Plaza.
The Mini-Benefit includes a wine and cheese reception and the concert reading of ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY on the Cygnet Theatre Stage located at 4040 Twiggs Street in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Tickets to attend the November 1st and 8th events are $40 each.
For more information visit Cygnet's website at www.cygnettheatre.com or call the box office at (619) 337-1525.