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Coward’s ‘Ball’ to make U.S. debut

Hartman will act as musical director for Gotham version

A new Noel Coward musical? Well, new to the U.S., anyway. Tony Walton will direct the American preem of “After the Ball,” Coward’s musical based on Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” at Off Broadway’s Irish Repertory Theater.

The tuner had a 1954 tryout in Liverpool, where, according to a 1999 story in the Independent, “much of the score was cut because the leading lady (Mary Ellis) could not sing it.” It played 188 perfs at London’s Globe Theater.

American conductor John McGlinn premiered his pieced-together version at the Covent Garden Festival in ’99.

The Gotham version will have musical direction by Mark Hartman. Helmer Walton also will design the show; he did the same dual duties on Goodspeed Musicals’ “Where’s Charley” this summer. Choreographer is Lisa Shriver; Brian Nason will handle the lighting.

Cast includes Paul Carlin, Drew Eshelman, Josh Grisetti, Kristin Huxhold, Mary Illes, Elizabeth Inghram, Greg Mills, David Staller, Collette Simmons and Kathleen Widdoes.

Opening night is set for Dec. 16.

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