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A Frank Loesser Premiere and Bruce Vilanch Are On Tap for Unsung Musicals in 2014

New York company that specializes in sprucing up older musical material sets a slate of developmental productions, readings and concerts

New York’s Unsung Musicals Co. has lined up its 2014 season, including a world premiere of “Up in Arms!,” a new musical incorporating material by Frank Loesser and TV scribe Arnold Auerbach, and a workshop production of a revue that includes new material by Bruce Vilanch and Jeff Bowen.

The lineup kicks off April 5 with “Unsung Carolyn Leigh,” a concert that will also be part of Lincoln Center’s annual American Songbook series. Broadway alums including Rachel de Benedet, Max Von Essen and Megan Sikora (pictured, above) will showcase songs by composer-lyricist Leigh (“Peter Pan,” “Little Me”), including songs from her 1969 musical “Gatsby,” a tune cut from “How Now Dow Jones” and two numbers she wrote with Marvin Hamlisch for the unproduced edition of “Smile.”

Next up is “The Passing Show,” a new music-hall style revue that includes new material by Vilanch and Bowen (“[title of show]”), among others, as well as trunk songs by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn. A mashup of previously existing and contempo work, the show runs June 26-29.

“Up In Arms!,” meanwhile, incorporates original material penned by Loesser (“Guys and Dolls”) and Auerbach (“The Phil Silvers Show”) for WWII army revues, plus other unpublished work by Auerbach, in a new show conceived and directed by Unsung a.d. Ben West.

Additional evenings on the 2014 concert sked include “Unsung Bob Merrill,” with tunes by the “Funny Girl” and “Carnival!” writer, and “Unsung Dorothy Fields, Vol. 1: The Coleman Years,” focusing on rare material from songwriter Fields’ collaborations with Cy Coleman including “Sweet Charity.”

The company’s season also incorporates developmental readings of new productions of two tuners, the 1926 outing “Peggy-Ann” with music by Rodgers and Hart, and 1964 musical comedy “I Had a Ball,” in a staging that will star Vilanch. One more title in the reading series remains to be set.

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