Rosie O’Donnell headed to Encores!

'No, No, Nanette,' 'Applause' topline season

Rosie O’Donnell in “No, No, Nanette” and Christine Ebersole in “Applause” topline the 2008 Encores! season at New York City Center.

Annual program of semi-staged tuner revivals – which spawned longrunning Rialto hit “Chicago,” as well as the 2003 production of “Wonderful Town” – presents three tuners each spring, each for a weekend-long run that is rehearsed for about ten days.

Ebersole, who recently won a second Tony for her lead role in “Grey Gardens,” will star as Margo Channing in “Applause,” the 1970 musical adaptation of “All About Eve.” Show, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams and book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, runs Feb. 7-10, 2008.

Tony-winning Irish helmer Garry Hynes (“The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “DruidSynge”) directs “Juno,” playing March 27-30. The 1959 musical, which played 16 performances in its original run on Broadway, is composer-lyricist Marc Blitzstein and book writer Joseph Stein’s take on Sean O’Casey’s 1924 play “Juno and the Paycock,” about a Dublin family in the 1920s.

O’Donnell, in her first Gotham legit venture since appearing in the 2004 Rialto revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” will star opposite Beth Leavel (“The Drowsy Chaperone”) in the 1925 musical “No, No, Nanette.” The breezy farce about the misadventures of three couples runs May 8-12. Walter Bobbie, who directed “Chicago,” helms. (Encores! will present the reconceived 1971 version of “Nanette,” with music by Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach and book by Harbach.)

With the 2008 season, Rob Berman takes over as Encores! music director from Paul Gemignani.

The Encores! series recently expanded its programming, inaugurating a summer offering with a fully-staged production of “Gypsy” starring Patti LuPone.

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