Thesp joins cast of Encores! outing
Raul Esparza is among the thesps rounding out the cast of the Encores! concert staging of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ 1964 tuner “Anyone Can Whistle.”The annual Encores! series of revivals has yielded a string of commercial transfers, including the recent Broadway staging of “Finian’s Rainbow” and the long-running “Chicago.” The little-seen “Whistle” has drawn added attention this spring thanks to the current spate of birthday performances and celebrations honoring Sondheim, who turns 80 this month. Esparza, who starred in the 2006 revival of Sondheim’s “Company,” joins the show along with Edward Hibbert (“Curtains”), Jeff Blumenkrantz (“Into the Woods”) and John Ellison Conlee (“The Full Monty”) have all signed on to the show, which also stars Sondheim vet Donna Murphy (“Passion”) and Sutton Foster (“Shrek the Musical”). “Whistle” helmer-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (“The Drowsy Chaperone”) previously directed the 2007 Encores! revival of Sondheim’s “Follies.” That production was well-received enough to prompt talk of a commercial transfer, but a future life never materialized. Plot of “Whistle,” which earned a mixed bag of reviews in its initial Broadway outing, centers on a corrupt mayor (Murphy) and a man who may or may not be a psychologist (Esparza). The Encores! staging of “Whistle” runs April 8-11.