New York City Center will celebrate the 25th Encores! season February 7-11 with Hey, Look Me Over!, a new revue conceived by artistic director Jack Viertel. Directed by Marc Bruni, the show is a mashup of "overtures, opening numbers, grand finales, and other excerpts from the beloved shows that have not yet found a berth on the Encores! stage" — all laced together by the dry wit of Drowsy Chaperone's iconic Man in Chair.
Lending their talents to the near-forgotten great moments of shows like Mack and Mable and Greenwillow will be Broadway legends including Bebe Neuwirth, Carolee Carmello, Judy Kuhn, and more. Find out what to expect from this all-new musical mosaic from the production's cast and crew.
Hey, Look Me Over! was a concept that was knocking around in my head for years, and there was never a reason to do it. But for the 25th season, it was almost like I had this thing in my desk drawer, and I thought, now is the moment! Then Marc said to me, "But how do we get from one show to the next?" And Josh Clayton, who's the associate music director, who was in the room at the time, said, "You need Man in Chair." So we said, "That's a good idea!"
Man in Chair, turns out, is a lifetime Encores! subscriber, and he has been very disappointed in the programming choices of encores over the years. He has some shows that he feels have been unjustly overlooked for years and have been criminally unproduced. And so those eight shows, his favorites, are included in this evening.
As we read the scripts and we played that game of, "Oh wouldn't it be great if so-and-so played that role?" and then they all said yes. So we were able to attract an incredible group. I think the audience is really going to be delighted by it — every 15 minutes somebody else comes out onstage to deliver something really special and unique. I think it'll be one of those New York nights that people will be able to say, "I was there when."
It's great because I don't know that there's a show that Bebe Neuwirth and I would ever do together except for this, so that's really fun. We won't share the stage until the very end, the finale, but we get to hang out together for the next 10 days.
I've had two wonderful experiences doing Encores! before, Pal Joey and Chicago, and that was 21 years ago. So I'm very, very happy to be back. City Center is also one of my favorite theaters. It is gorgeous, but there's something else that happens at City Center. There's a vibe here in these beautiful rooms. They're filled with history, and you think of all the dancers and performers who have worked here. Stepping on that stage and being backstage is mystical.
This is my first Encores!, so I'm getting used to just being thrown into something — thrown into a rehearsal process and then thrown onstage in front of 2,300 people. And this is a bit unique because I wrote the material I'm performing — I wrote the show, but haven't had time to rehearse it, so it's extremely raw, which I kind of like. I have an improv background. But you know as an improviser you're used to being thrown on the stage in front of 50 or 100 people not 2,300 people. So I'm really looking forward to it. I'm quite nervous, but I'm really looking forward to it.
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