'Fiorello' returns and 'Superman' flies
“It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman,” “On Your Toes” and “Fiorello!” will make up the 20th season of the Encores! series of semi-staged musicals this spring, with an anniversary gala set for the fall and starring Raul Esparza and Kelli O’Hara.
Season kicks off with “Fiorello!,” the Fiorello LaGuardia bio-tuner with book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott and songs by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. One of the few musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Fiorello!” kicked off the Encores! series in 1994 and returns for the upcoming season for a run that plays City Center Jan. 30-Feb. 3.
Comicbook musical “Superman,” with tunes by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, will be seen at Encores! with its original book by David Newman and Robert Benton (with minor tweaks for Encores!, as has become a tradition). A recent production of the title, which bowed in 2010 at Dallas Theater Center, had a new book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”) and rekindled a bit of Main Stem interest in the property. Encores! version is set for March, with exact dates to be set.
Finishing off the season is “On Your Toes,” with songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and book by Abbott, Rodgers and Hart. Dates for the 1936 show — which combines classical ballet and vaudeville with a storyline about gangsters — aren’t yet finalized.
Creative teams and casting for all three productions are still to be announced, although Esparza and O’Hara are confirmed to be on tap for the gala Nov. 12.
The Encores! program, which revives overlooked tuners in semi-staged concert productions, has yielded Broadway fare including “The Apple Tree,” “Wonderful Town,” “Finian’s Rainbow” and the long-running revival of “Chicago.”