'Ain't Misbehavin' ' among Lyric musicals for '96

April 16, 1996|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

"Ain't Misbehavin'," starring Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, will highlight Performing Arts Productions' 1996-1997 season at the Lyric Opera House.

The five-play lineup will include three other revivals of musical classics -- "West Side Story," "Funny Girl" and "Singin' in the Rain" -- as well as Rob Becker's one-man comedy show, "Defending the Caveman."

In addition, subscribers will have an option to add the return engagement of "Stomp," which sold out at the Lyric earlier this season and received national recognition for its percussive performance at last month's Academy Awards show.

Pointing out that "large musicals fit into our subscription base very readily," Nick Litrenta, president of Performing Arts, acknowledged that "we sort of are pushing the envelope" with Becker's one-man "Defending the Caveman." A comic look at male-female relationships, "Caveman" is currently on Broadway. Litrenta said he isn't worried about putting the small show in the 2,500-seat Lyric, however, since it has already played several 2,000-seat venues.

"Caveman" is an effort to bring in new audiences, which is also the impetus behind the casting of the Fats Waller musical revue, "Ain't Misbehavin'." Litrenta calls the combination of Waller and the Vandellas "an opportunity to merge one of the early rock classic acts with a Broadway show."

Two of the more traditional musical offerings, "Funny Girl" and "West Side Story," are pre-Broadway productions co-produced by Performing Arts. "West Side Story," whose two-year tour has included an engagement in Japan, is "very much a staged replica of the original," Litrenta said.

"Funny Girl," he said, will be "somewhat of a 'revisal,' " since it will include two new songs written for the production by composer Jule Styne shortly before his death in 1994.

Based on the 1952 movie of the same name, "Singin' in the Rain" won't have a star cast, according to Litrenta, but it will feature the customary on-stage rain effects.

This will be Performing Arts Productions' fifth subscription season at the Lyric. Five-show subscriptions are $95 to $205; with the addition of "Stomp," the cost is $114 to $239. Call (410) 494-2712 or (800) 669-7824.

Pub Date: 4/16/96

Lyric season

Oct. 29-Nov. 3: "Ain't Misbehavin'"

Dec. 2-7: "West Side Story"

Dec. 23-28: "Stomp" (subscriber option)

Feb. 17-23, 1997: "Defending the Caveman"

April 1-6, 1997: "Funny Girl"

May 27-June 1, 1997: "Singin' in the Rain"

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