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'With a Song in My Heart' to be Staged July 13 to 29

Missimi and Fiorello’s new revue celebrates songs and musicals by Richard Rodgers

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July 3, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- From the creative minds behind last year’s SummerStage hits toasting the Golden and New Age musicals comes a new revue in praise of American composer Richard Rodgers, considered by many to be the greatest composer of musicals.

Directed by Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Award-winner Dominic Missimi and conceived and arranged by music director David Fiorello, “With a Song in My Heart: The Romance of Richard Rodgers” is a grand salute to a man who contributed more Broadway hits to the repertoire than any other. Rodgers (1902-1979) composed more than 900 songs, many of which are featured in 43 Broadway musicals.

Part of the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University’s 2012 SummerStage season, performances of “With a Song in My Heart” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 13; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 15; 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20: 7:30 p.m. July 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 22; 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 27; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 28; and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 29, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

In tandem with the three-week-only revue, TIC will also offer audiences a Rodgers and Hammerstein mini-film series at the Barber Theater. It will feature the 1955 Oscar Award-winning musical “Oklahoma!” at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, and the 1958 movie adaptation of “South Pacific” at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 28. Single tickets for each screening are $5 to $10.

Missimi’s and Fiorello’s three-part revue celebrates the collaborations of Rodgers with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. “With a Song in My Heart” kicks off with a contemporary nod to Rodgers and Hart, continues with a folksy twist on the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein; and finishes in a WWII canteen-like conclusion, featuring songs across both collaborations.

“What I love in our show is that there are stories to follow,” Missimi said. “We have 12 actors in the show and six different pairs of lovers -- some are in love all the time, some are in love with love and some may be having trouble and need to rediscover what love is. We are examining the relationships through the music in three very different settings so it’s much more than just a musical revue.”

Performing such songs as “My Funny Valentine,” “My Favorite Things” and “Johnny One Note,” the show’s cast will be comprised of Northwestern student performers from the School of Communication’s Music Theatre Certificate Program. 

“It feels like these songs are being rediscovered,” Fiorello said. “To me, that’s pretty exciting, because it proves their music is more timeless than we thought.”

DOMINIC MISSIMI 

Missimi, former executive director of the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University, has directed more than 40 Equity productions for Chicago’s three major music theatres and staged more than 80 plays, musicals and operas at Northwestern. He has received three Jeff Awards for productions he directed at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre.

DAVID FIORELLO 

Fiorello -- a musical director, performer, director, playwright and composer -- is the staff pianist for Northwestern’s Music Theatre Program. He served as music director and co-creator of last summer's “Some Enchanted Broadway Evening” and music directed the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University’s staged readings of “Fly By Night” and “Triangle.” His credits include the Off-Broadway production of “Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical” and he also served as music director of numerous national tours of top Broadway productions, including the John Doyle production of “Sweeney Todd.”

Single tickets for “With a Song in My Heart” are $30 for the general public; $27 for seniors 62 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators; $10 for full-time students; and $5 for Northwestern students on advance purchase only ($10 at the door). 

SummerStage 2012 programming is partially sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. For more season details, visit www.tic.northwestern.edu.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT: A three-year construction project is underway that has closed Northwestern University’s Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicap parking and patrons requiring special access to theaters on the Evanston campus. Visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/construction to learn more.

Topics: Campus Life