York tunes up for Rodgers centennial

Three tuners planned to highlight composer's career

The York Theater Co. will kick off the Richard Rodgers Centennial next year with a series of three tuners highlighting the length and breadth of Rodgers’ composing career.

For the company’s “Musicals in Mufti” series in January, the York will produce concert versions of a Rodgers & Hart show, a Rodgers & Hammerstein shown and a Rodgers-post-Hammerstein show. Each will be given five perfs.

First up (Jan. 11-13) will be “Me and Juliet,” Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1953 backstage show featuring “No Other Love.” It will be followed Jan. 18-20 by “Androcles and the Lion,” the world stage premiere of a show created as a 1967 NBC special. It features music and lyrics by Rodgers and a book by Peter Stone based on the play by George Bernard Shaw.

Last up will be “By Jupiter,” a 1942 musical that marked the end of the collaboration between Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. (Rodgers turned to Hammerstein for 1943’s “Oklahoma!”) A hit originally starring Ray Bolger, the show’s score featured “Nobody’s Heart” and “Wait Till You See Her.”

The York’s fall “Musicals in Mufti” series will feature the Brit tuner “The Good Companions,” with a score by Andre Previn and Johnny Mercer and a book by Ronald Harwood, based on J.B. Priestley’s novel; “Cyrano,” a 1973 Broadway show adapted by Anthony Burgess from the Rostand classic with music by Michael J. Lewis; and Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina,” the quasi-operatic adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes.”