New York City Center’s long-running Encores! program, which has yielded a string of commercial Broadway transfers including the still-running revival of “Chicago,” has set a 2014 season that will include “Smash” star Christian Borle toplining Neil Simon-Cy Coleman tuner “Little Me.”
Also on the docket are Frank Loesser musical “The Most Happy Fella” — in a production starring Shuler Hensley (“The Whale,” “Young Frankenstein”) and directed and choreographed by “The Book of Mormon” helmer Casey Nicholaw — and a new staging of “Irma LaDouce” from John Doyle (“Sweeney Todd”).
John Rando, the “Urinetown” director whose production of “A Christmas Story” sold well in its recent holiday run on the Rialto, directs “Little Me” (Feb. 5-9), the 1962 musical in which a celeb’s seven lovers are all played by the same thesp. “Little Me” will be the first Gotham stage outing for Borle since he snagged a Tony last year for his perf in “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
Hensley will play an older farmer wooing a young waitress in 1956 musical “Fella” (April 2-6). Casting, meanwhile, has yet to be set for 1960 title “Irma La Douce” (May 7-11), about a successful prostitute and the law student who falls for her.
Encores!, which presents semi-staged readings of overlooked or little-seen musicals, has served as a tryout run of sorts for a number of tuners that have moved on to Broadway after a well-received City Center stint. The list of past transfers includes “Wonderful Town,” ‘The Apple Tree” and “Finian’s Rainbow,” among others.