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Summer Music Theatre Festival 2008 To Kick Off June 25

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May 27, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Summer Music Theatre Festival 2008 will present the world premiere of the American Music Theatre Project's (AMTP) "Dangerous Beauty" (July 25 to Aug. 17), a musical romance set in Renaissance Venice featuring Jenny Powers and Hollis Resnik with music by Michele Brourman and lyrics by Amanda McBroom.

The summer season also will feature the world premiere of "Tonight at Eight: Saluting Sheldon Harnick" (June 25 to 29), a musical revue saluting one of Northwestern's most distinguished alumni, lyricist and composer Sheldon Harnick, and in association with the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, a workshop production of a world premiere musical, "The Bowery Boys" (July 9 to 27), loosely based on the "rags-to-riches" works of 19th century American author Horatio Alger Jr.

All three festival productions -- as well as the third annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project (Aug. 9 to 16) of weeklong workshops, lecture demonstrations, showcases and a closing concert featuring guest artist Heather Headley -- will take place on the University's Evanston campus, as noted below.

Subscription prices for the first three shows are $72 for the general public; $67 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $25 for students. Single ticket will go on sale June 13, and prices are listed below.

Festival subscribers also may take advantage of a new Omaggio dinner package. The Theatre and Interpretation Center has formed a partnership with Omaggio restaurant, 1639 Orrington Ave., in downtown Evanston. A $70 Subscription Dinner Package includes one dinner per person for each of the three subscription productions (three meals total), or patrons may purchase a $25 individual dinner package that includes one dinner per person for any one subscription production. Each meal will include an appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. Each patron is responsible for tax and gratuity. The dinner package price does not include performance tickets. If theatergoers are unable to use their dinner package on the night of their subscription performance, it may be used anytime during the festival season (June 25 to Aug. 17), subject to reservation availability. Dinner packages are non-refundable. For more information, contact the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

The first festival 2008 production will be "Tonight at Eight: Saluting Sheldon Harnick," conceived and directed by Dominic Missimi, director of Northwestern's Music Theatre Program. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 25; 8 p.m. Thursday, June 26; 8 p.m. Friday, June 27; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28; and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 29, in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. A world premiere musical revue that pays tribute to Sheldon Harnick, "Tonight at Eight: Saluting Sheldon Harnick" promises an exuberant and entertaining homage to one of Northwestern's most illustrious alumni. Harnick has provided lyrics to some of Broadway's most memorable musicals, including "Fiddler on the Roof," "She Loves Me," "Fiorello," "The Apple Tree," "The Rothschilds," and many more. Harnick also composed music and lyrics for several revues, as well as the popular "A Wonderful Life." "Tonight at Eight" will feature two previously unreleased songs written by Harnick for "Fiddler on the Roof" -- "Dear Sweet Sewing Machine" and "Any Day Now." Intended respectively for the stage and film versions of the production, both were omitted from the production score and will be heard for the first time at the Louis Theater. Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $23 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students.


Performances of "The Bowery Boys" will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 9; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 10; 8 p.m. Friday, July 11; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 12; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 13; 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 16; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17; 8 p.m. Friday, July 18; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20; 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24; 8 p.m. Friday, July 25; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27, in the Hal and Martha Hyer-Wallis Theater, Theatre and Interpretation Center, 1949 Campus Drive. The workshop production of the world premiere musical "The Bowery Boys" is a developmental co-production of the American Music Theatre Project and the Marriott Theatre. It was inspired by the "rags- to-riches" stories of 19th century American author Horatio Alger Jr. and the songs of George M. Cohan. "The Bowery Boys" follows the journey of Dick Hunter, a streetwise kid, and Mary, a young immigrant, through the tough streets of 1880s New York. Faced with many dangerous adventures they never lose hope of realizing a brighter future -- the American Dream. The workshop production uses contemporary adaptations of Cohan's songs to tell the stories. Director David H. Bell also wrote the book and adapted the lyrics for this musical. Jeremy Cohen adapted the music for the production. "The Bowery Boys" will officially debut at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire in December 2008. Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $23 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students.

AMTP's "Dangerous Beauty," featuring Jenny Powers and Hollis Resnik, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday July 25; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 31; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1; 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3; 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10; 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15; 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive. A world premiere musical of passion, politics and poetry, "Dangerous Beauty" tells the tumultuous tale of Veronica Franco, a notorious courtesan and poet of 16th century Venice. Through the loss of family fortune and her true love, Veronica recognizes that only as a courtesan will she retain access to an education and a place in the cultural and political life of her city. When Venice is ravaged by the plague, war and the Inquisition, she finds herself on trial for witchcraft. Featuring a score that combines the best of classical and pop musical styles, this story is based on Margaret Rosenthal's 1992 novel "The Honest Courtesan." Writer Jeannine Dominy created the screenplay of "Dangerous Beauty" and also wrote the book for the musical. In addition to Dominy, the production's creative team members include composer Michele Brourman, lyricist Amanda McBroom and New York director Sheryl Kaller. Stuart Oken is the artistic director. The AMTP core funding sponsors are Barbara and Garry Marshall, John and Patricia Shields and William Donnell. The honorary producers are Christine Myers, Richard and Marian Bott, Barbara Whitman and David Carlyon; and Barbara Manocherian, Tara Smith, Susan Dietz and Paula Holt. Single tickets are $30 for the general public; $27 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students.

For more information about the American Music Theatre Project visit http://www.amtp.northwestern.edu/.

In addition to the festival's three world premieres, A Celebration of Johnny Mercer will be presented as an exclusive add-on opportunity for festival subscribers. Following the success of last year's program, The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project returns to Northwestern for its third year. Featuring some of America's most prominent songwriters and singers working in the tradition of the legendary Johnny Mercer, this weeklong project will conclude with three special events that will first be made available only to festival subscribers.

• "The Legacy of Johnny Mercer" lecture demonstration will be presented at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Festival subscribers are invited to join American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Music Theater Director Michael Kerker as he hosts a lecture demonstration on the life of one of America's major songwriters. The panel will include guest artist, composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa and Nashville recording artist Lari White. The event is free to the public.

• Songwriters Showcase, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. This annual celebration of the American song will feature lyricists and performers from across the country who will present an evening of original music. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for festival subscribers.

• The Johnny Mercer Celebration Concert, 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, with guest artist Heather Headley ("Lion King," "Aida") presenting a one-night-only performance of Johnny Mercer's most beloved works and Broadway musical favorites. The evening also includes performances by composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa ("The Wild Party"), Nashville recording artist Lari White, Chicago's premiere cabaret act of Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael, as well as students of the Northwestern Music Theatre Program. Tickets are $30.

Festival subscriptions will be available May 29. Single tickets to festival productions and "A Celebration of Johnny Mercer" events will go on sale June 13. For ticket information, call (847) 491-7282. Online ticket sales will be available at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.php.
Topics: Campus Life