Posted: Oct 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM [Oct 11, 2012]
There was a time when the best Broadway shows were fun and entertaining, and left you whistling the tunes when you left the theater. Such a show is the 1910 “Madame Sherry” by Karl Hoschna, opening Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Vitosha Haus Concert Hall.
Written during the Ragtime Era, the show exemplifies the musical changes that were occurring in America at the time. Syncopated rhythms occur throughout the score, and the style is decidedly less European than previous works. Although the action is set in Paris, it may as well be New York, for the feeling is definitely American urban. The plot is a pure situation comedy, and would have been quite suitable as a script for Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball.
Edward Sherry (Thomas Petiet) and his School of Aesthetic Dancing have long been supported by Edward's archaeologist uncle, Theophilus (James Wessel Walker). To please his uncle, who spends most of his time in Greece, Edward has pretended to marry and have children. When the uncle suddenly appears, Edward is forced to draft his housekeeper (Sarah Briggs), his dancing instructor Lulu (Emily Bennett) and her amorous student Leonardo (Gyorgy Barabas) into acting as his wife and offspring. Certain mishaps cause Theophilus to grow suspicious, so he takes everyone out to sea in his yacht and threatens not to return to port until he discovers the truth. As it happens, Theophilus's niece Yvonne (Natalie Emptage) has fallen in love with Edward, and Edward must find a way to make his uncle forgive his fabrications in order to marry her.
The show was an immediate hit, and ran for 231 consecutive performances on Broadway. “Every Little Movement” and “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey” became standards, but the show was loaded with good songs. Hoschna, who began as an oboist in the Victor Herbert orchestra, was destined for great things, but tragically died a little more than a year after the show opened. What he may have produced, had he lived longer, is an interesting question.
What he did produce will be open to all as The Comic Opera Guild revives this lost treasure in concert format in the elegant Vitosha Haus Concert Hall. The cast of 16 will be conducted by David Troiano and accompanied by Jon Krueger and Andrew Anderson. The subsequent show recording will be added to the Guild’s growing list of CDs that document the early years of Broadway.
By Karl Hoschna and Otto Harbach
Saturday eve., October 20, 8 pm
Sunday Matinee, October 21, 2 pm
Performed in the
Vitosha Haus Concert Hall
1917 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, 48104
General Admission: $15.00
Seniors and Students: $12.00
Generous Seating Accommodations
TO ORDER TICKETS:
Credit Card orders: 734-763-TKTS (8587)
Tickets also available at the door