Join us for OFAM's own re-creation of the greatest Broadway show of the 1990s -- the 1992 Tony Award-winning "new" Gershwin musical smash hit, Crazy For You!.
You and your family won't want to miss this centerpiece production of OFAM's 10 day tribute to the Gershwins! Not satisfied with a complete update of the Gershwin's lighthearted 1930 classic Girl Crazy (which contained such great numbers as "Embraceable You", "I Got Rhythm", and "Bidin' My Time"), the producers of this latter-day revival stuffed every great song the duo ever wrote, including such classics as "The Man I Love", "Slap That Bass", "The Real American Folksong", "Shall We Dance?", "They Can’t Take That Away From Me", "Stairway To Paradise" and many more! There is literally not a dull moment and with so many Gershwin classics, it is truly a proper tribute to the pair.
Co-produced by Oregon Festival of American Music and Willamette Repertory Theater, the musical is being directed by veteran comic Shakesperean Kirk Boyd with music under the direction of OFAM’s own Vicki Brabham with choreography by Reggie Bardach. Bobby Child is played by the versatile Bill Hulings and Polly Baker by OFAM’s own Shirley Sachs; but local theater buffs will recognize other local favorites: Richard Leebrick, Greg Foote, Lyn Burg, Scott Barkhurst, Pamela Siegle, Debi Noel and more! The musical theater event of the year!
| ||ACT I|
| ||"K-ra-zy For You"||Bobby|
| ||"I Can't Be Bothered Now"||Bobby and Follies girls|
| ||"Bidin' My Time"||cowboy trio and cowboys |
| ||"Things Are Looking Up"||Bobby|
| ||"Could You Use Me?"||Bobby & Polly|
| ||"Shall We Dance?"||Bobby & Polly|
| ||"Girls Enter Nevada"||Follies girls|
| ||"Someone To Watch Over Me"||Polly|
| ||"Slap That Bass"||Bobby & company|
| ||"Embraceable You"||Bobby & Polly|
| ||"Tonight's The Night"||cowboys & Follies girls|
| ||"I Got Rhythm"||Polly & company|
| ||ACT II|
| ||"The Real American Folk Song"||cowboy trio|
| ||"What Causes That?"||Bobby & Zangler|
| ||"Naughty Baby Irene"||Lank & cowboys|
| ||"Stiff Upper Lip"||Bobby, Polly and company|
| ||"They Can't Take That Away From Me"||Bobby|
| ||"But Not For Me"||Polly|
| ||"Nice Work If You Can Get It"||Bobby & Follies girls|
| ||French reprise: "Bidin' My Time"||cowboy trio|
The curtain opens on that most magical of places, backstage at the Zangler Theater in New York in the 1930's. The last performance of The Zangler Follies is wrapping up for the season and Tess, the dance Director, is dodging the advances of the married Mr. Zangler. Bobby Child, the son of a wealthy banking family, presses Zangler for an ill-fated audition that leaves Zangler cold.
Outside, Bobby is met by Irene the wealthy woman to whom he has been engaged for five years, and then by his mother who demands that Bobby carry out a piece of banking business for her. Bobby is told to go to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on a rundown theatre. As the two women argue over him, Bobby imagines dancing with the Follies Girls and joins them in a rousing rendition of I Can't be Bothered Now. Brought back to reality, Bobby decides to escape to Nevada.
When Bobby arrives in Deadrock, it is clear that the town has seen better da
George (1898-1937) and Ira (1896-1983) Gershwin were an incomparable team. Individual accomplishments aside, the two were responsible for some of the best-known American standards from Tin Pan Alley, stage and screen. Even George's classical compositions, resonating with jazz and African-American influences, can be hummed whistled or sung by us all. The Gershwin brothers have become part of our collective American consciousness.
Consider current events. Any similarities? Yes! Girl Crazy debuted on October 14, 1930 at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway. During the Great Depression, the American public craved a different kind of entertainment. Revues and musical comedies tempora rily alleviated worries and offered some relief from the seriousness of everyday life. Characterized by lavish production numbers, glorious costumes, grand music and comedy routines extracted from Vaudeville, the shows were a huge success.
The 1930s are a veritable gold mine of such productions. Remember Cole Porter's Anything Goes, Rodgers and Hart's On Your Toe s, Kern's Roberta, Schwartz's The Band Wagon, and, of course, the Gershwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning Of Thee I Sing.
Fast-forward to the 1990s. A conservative backlash has developed because of the extravagant excesses of the 1980s. Companies are downsizing, outsourcing, closi ng plants and/or adapting to new technologies. Change and uncertainty are commonplace. Cultural programs and funding have been cut within our school systems and at professional theatres everywhere. An upbeat, musical antidote would be most welcome: Someth ing familiar, something to remind us of "the goold old days," something fun and lighter than air. Voila! Revive, recreate, rediscover shows and tunes from the heyday of the American musical theatre.
And thus began the rebirth of Girl Crazy as Crazy for You. Work on the stage remake began with Dallas multimillionaire Roger Horchow's involvement in 1988. "Let's put on a show" fever had struck once again! He'd been a lifelong fan of George Gershwin's music. He even remembered meeting the famed composer-pianist at his parents' home. As Mr. Horchow told the Dallas Morning News, "I don't remember what he played, of course. I just remember loving it!"
When Mr. Horchow sold his mail order business (The Horchow Collection), he earmarked the profit toward the fulfillment of a dream: Producing a revival of Girl Crazy (his favorite show) on Broadway. Licensing rights were granted by the Gershwin esta te, and the pow-wows began in earnest. As producer, Mr. Horchow hired the director, writers and designers and booked the Shubert Theatre for the show's opening. Investing more than $5 million of his own money into the $7.5 million project, he adamantly de clared to the New York Post that it was his first and "last show. This is the only one I wanted to do. We hope to do it in other cities, but not any more shows..."
Despite its fine score, Girl Crazy had a storyline completely inappropriate for today's society and audiences. In an interview with Kevin Kelly of the Boston Globe, playwright Ken Ludwig (of Lend Me a Tenor fame) said, "All those musicals' books of the '20s and '30s were awful, but Girl Crazy seemed to me the awfullest (sic) of all! It was dumb, silly, beyond silly. And f ull of ethnic humor that wasn't funny at all. I decided I'd have to rewrite from scratch. And I wondered how this would play with the gershwin estate, principally the three Gershwin nephews. To be honest, they were more than willing to do anything to get the show back onstage, partly, of course, because of continuing copyrights, but also as ongoing testimony to George and Ira."
Given access to the entire Gershwin music catalogue, Ludwig (along with director Mike Ockrent) conceptualized a "new" plot, rearranged the score, deleted some songs, borrowed others from various Gershwin shows, and "rediscovered" still more: Naughty Ba by, What Causes That, Tonight's the Night, But Not for Me, Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm, and K-RA-ZY for You, which provided the musical with a new name.
Crazy for You opened at the Shubert Theatre February 19, 1992 to critical acclaim. Frank Rich of the New York Times said, "The show is bursting with original talent that takes off on its own cocky path, pointedly mocking recent British musicals even as it sassily rethinks the American musical tradition stretching from the Gershwins to (Michael) Bennett." Other critics were equally crazy for the musical: "Bright, recession-proof, stuffed with one-line zin gers"..."We're back in the lost paradise of the American musical, with glitter and girls, legs and voices, melodies of insouciant mastery"..."An exuberant evening of amusing sight gags invented by Mr. Ockrent, stunning costumes by William Ivey Long, energ etic, clever dances by Susan Stroman and marvelous Gershwin music."
Four years and 1,643 performances later, the final Broadway curtain dropped. Crazy for You had won 3 Tonys (Musical, Costume Design, Choreography); 2 Drama Desk Awards (Musical, Choreography) and 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (Broadway Musical, Cho reography, Scenic Design, Costumes, Lighting).
Since the Broadway version has closed, any company that can pay the royalties is allowed to stage Crazy for You. Licenses have gone as far as Capetown, Helsinki, Oslo, Budapest, Australia, Mexico City, London and Indianapolis.
Clearly, Crazy for You is a golden national treasure that will never be panned!