|I still have this shirt.|
|Broadway heartthrob Steven Pasquale has been playing the title role in The Robber Bridegroom in a major Off-Broadway revival. It closed this weekend.|
|The musicians in this revival are not hidden in the pit. Here's|
Banjo-Boy Mike, center stage with the star.
|Our Robber Bridegroom, with a cast of about two dozen, plus a bluegrass band uptop.|
|The "Story Theatre" style of the piece kept the full cast on|
stage throughout the show, as the actors created the
atmosphere. Note my superb presence at the left. We call
that "active listening."
The Robber Bridegroom has had a unique history. It was developed in the early 70s during a musical theatre workshop, where John Houseman snagged the piece for his fledgling group of Julliard grads, The Acting Company.
|Fresh out of Julliard, Patti Lupone landed her|
first Tony nod for her 2 week Broadway run in
The Robber Bridegroom. That's fellow alum
Kevin Kline with her. Whatever happened to
|Barry Bostwick won the Tony playing|
Jamie Lockhart, while the original
Robber Bridegroom, Kevin Kline, was
stuck on tour.
I didn't know any of this history when The Robber Bridegroom was announced as the big fall musical at CSUN in 1978. This was toward the end of my college career, during which I made many close friends and learned a little bit about the Theatre as well.
|No, it's not Frau Blucher, it's Maryellen|
Clemons, who guided our production. I
did 3 musicals for her at CSUN, but she
never gave me a chance at a substantive
Everybody knows the chorus of a musical does a lot of the work, and ours even more so. We remained onstage throughout the show, singing back-up and moving various planks, barrels, and stools around the raked stage to create the world of the play. It's the usual concept for this show and it worked like gangbusters.
MaryEllen had cast the ensemble with actors who had played larger roles, so the background players of this show were very, very alive.
|In the midst of such a strong cast, it must be said that our show|
was stolen by these two first-class musical clowns. John
Dantona as hapless conman Little Harp, and my best buddy
Claudia DeCea as wicked stepmother Salome, were pure gold.
|In the revival, Leslie Kritzer as Salome is a human firecracker. Leading man Steven Pasquale (in the vest) throws himself into this show with huge abandon. They both won Lucille Lortel Awards for their performances.|
|My buddy Susie Kaufman as simpleton Airie.|
The revival handed this role to a large black
ensemble man, who plopped a silly blond wig
onto his head to play the role. It was a hoot.
The Robber Bridegroom revival closed this weekend (it was always meant to be a limited run), so it's appropriate that this week's Dance Party come from the score. There are lots of clips out there of various regional productions of the show, as well as high school, college, and community theater versions.
It seems the show is better known in the regions than in New York. All those clips are grainy and pretty much unwatchable. Sadly, the two years in which the show was nominated for Tony Awards occurred before it became traditional to showcase numbers from the nominated musicals on the broadcast; thus, there are no network quality clips of the show out there.
But our gal pal Patti Lupone saves the day. She introduced one of the few ballads in the Bridegroom score, and still sings it on occasion. One such occasion gives us this week's Dance Party.
|This quiet moment between our lovers led to "Sleepy Man," my favorite song in The Robber Bridegroom.|
|At a recent benefit, Patti and Kevin|
recreated this moment from the
|Lupone sings "Sleepy Man" to Kline in the original.|