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MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, PIPE DREAM and GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES in the New York City Center 2012 Encores! season

Sondheim’s musical will run from 8 to 12 February; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s rarely seen show, from 28 March to 1 April; and the musical created by Jule Styne and Leo Robin will close this 9th season from 9 to 13 May 2012.

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New York City Center’s 19th Encores! season will open in City Center’s newly restored and renovated theater on February 8, 2012 with Stephen Sondheim’s MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, and will continue with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s rarely seen PIPE DREAM on March 28¸ followed by Jule Styne and Leo Robin’s GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES on May 9. For the first time, each musical will play for seven performances.

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, is a musical about friendship and the compromise of youthful ideals, based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG begins in 1980 and moves backward in time, from 1980 – 1955, telling the story of three friends whose friendship is tested by time, events, ambition and fate. It charts the rise of a songwriting team during the years of Sondheim’s own early career, and includes some of his most brilliant and bruising songs, including “Not a Day Goes By”, “Old Friends”, “Our Time” and “Opening Doors.” Although unsuccessful in its original 1981 Broadway production (which ran 16 performances at the Alvin Theatre), Merrily has gained stature and reputation over the ensuing years, beginning with a reconfigured version at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in 1985, directed by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine. Mr. Lapine will return to the project as director of the Encores! production. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG will run February 8 – 12, 2012.

Outcasts yearning for a better life populate the bordellos and flophouses of a 1950s California seaside town in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s PIPE DREAM, based on John Steinbeck´s novel ‘Sweet Thursday’. PIPE DREAM opened at the Shubert Theatre on November 30, 1955 and ran for 246 performances. It was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. PIPE DREAM has not been seen on the American stage in more than two decades, owing to a technicality involving the underlying rights. This Rodgers and Hammerstein rarity includes “All at Once You Love Her,” “The Next Time It Happens” and the wistful ballad “Everybody’s Got a Home but Me.”  PIPE DREAM will run March 28 – April 1, 2012 directed by Marc Bruni.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, adapted from the novel by Anita Loos, has a book by Anita Loos and Joseph Fields, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin.  Set in the Roaring Twenties, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES follows the madcap adventures of the original “dumb blonde,” Lorelei Lee, as she sets sail for Europe with her best friend Dorothy Shaw. GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES made a star of Carol Channing on Broadway and later cemented Marilyn Monroe’s status as an American film icon and sex symbol in the 1953 screen version. “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is the crown jewel in a score that sparkles with songs like “Bye, Bye, Baby,” “A Little Girl from Little Rock” and “I Love What I’m Doing (When I’m Doing it for Love).”  The original production, directed by John C. Wilson and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 1949, and played a total of 740 performances. The show was revived by Tony Randall’s National Actors Theater in 1995 and ran for 24 performances. Directed by John Rando, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES will run May 9 – 13, 2012.

The music director of all the shows will be Rob Berman who is entering his fifth season as music director of Encores!, where he has conducted Where’s Charley?, Lost in the Stars, Bells Are Ringing, Anyone Can Whistle, Fanny, Finian´s Rainbow, Music in the Air, Damn Yankees, Applause and STAIRWAY TO PARADISE, as well as several gala concerts. Broadway conducting credits include FINIAN´S RAINBOW, IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE PAJAMA GAME, THE APPLE TREE, WONDERFUL TOWN and PROMISES, PROMISES, among others.

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