We’re headed back out to Staten Island today to bring you coverage of theatre news from our favorite college theatre program in the country! Following a success kickoff of its 48th season, Wagner has prepped two classics for both the Main Stage and Stage One Studio Theatre to continue its season as 2015 comes to a close and 2016 prepares to begin. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Wagner College Theatre continues it’s 2015-16 season with The Most Happy Fella up next on the Main Stage!
The Most Happy Fella is a musical featuring book, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The musical, based off of the play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard, tells the story of an older man who falls in love with a younger woman. The musical, often referred to as an opera, speaks to the Italian immigrant experience as Tony Esposito falls for Rosabella and the two experience the effects their relationship will cause. Loesser returned to Broadway with Fella just six years after penning Guys & Dolls and would later go on, just five years later, to pen How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
After kicking off its season with the 1950’s classic Damn Yankees, Wagner College Theatre brings to life another beloved musical from the era on the Main Stage. The production runs November 18th through the 21st with a second week running December 2nd to December 6th. All performances are at 8 PM with a 2 PM matinée on November 21st and December 5th. There is only a 2 PM performance on December 6th. The Most Happy Fella premiered on Broadway May 3rd, 1956 at The Imperial Theatre before moving to the Broadway Theatre on October 21st. The show ran through December 14th, 1957 playing a total of 676 performances. The original Broadway run was partially bankrolled by Lucille Ball, best known for the I Love Lucy television series. In one episode in 1957, the famous duo attended a sold out performance of The Most Happy Fella and three songs from the production were also featured. Broadway revivals of the show have taken place in 1979 at The Imperial Theatre and 1992 at The Booth Theatre. New York City Center has also produced numerous limited engagements of the production with much success, the most recent in 2014 with Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw at the helm.
Wagner College Theatre’s production is led by Anthony Turner as Tony, Jeanine Bruen as Rosabella (Both Pictured Above Right), Josh Sottile as Joey, Mackenzie Shay as Cleo, Greg Ippolito as Herman, Becca Barrett as Marie, Joe O’Malley as Doctor and Nick Manna as Postman. Jake Tyler Marks is the Tony understudy and will perform both Saturday matinees. The ensemble features Nicholas Barakos, Addi Berry, Jasmine Canziani, Joe Cowdrey, Lauren Dennis, Eric Elson, Matthew Healey, Rachael Houser, Kyle Johnson, Stephen Kallas, Darnell Xavier Kenney, Dana Kluczyk, Dean Marino, Kaitlin Quann, Jonathan Quigley, Jason Rath, Sydni Session, Bailey Shada, Natalie Schaffer, Lola Silver, Kelly Swint, Megan Viglione and Chris Zika.
Drew Scott Harris returns to Wagner College to helm The Most Happy Fella as director. Harris has staged some of Wagner’s most beloved productions including the infamous Titanic, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and most recently, Carousel. Wagner College Theatre Alum Sarah Tranchina (Class of 2010 & Pictured Left) returns as choreographer with Dr. Lauri Young as musical director. The production is a two-piano scored version of the show with Wendy Bobbitt Cavett (Mamma Mia!) serving as the second accompnimist. The rest of the creative team includes Phill Hickox as scenic design, Polly Kendrick as costume design, Vicki Neal as lighting design and Richard Kroth as sound design. Emma McElwee (Class of 2016) is production stage manager.
Wagner College Theatre is a nationally ranked college theatre program located at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City. The theatre program, which has been around since the 1960′s, has worked its way up to become one of the top ranked theatre programs by The Princeton Review. It has remained in the Top 5 Programs for the past 10 years and this past year ranked in at #2 in the nation. The program boosts a wonderful list of alumni and produces eight productions a year with four on the Main Stage and four in the Stage One Studio. Slated to hit the stage later this season on the Main Stage is Iolanthe and A Chorus Line while the Stage One Studio Theatre one can expect The Tempest, the premiere of New York Lands and The Dance Project.
Don’t miss your chance to fall in love with Wagner College Theatre and the cast of The Most Happy Fella as they kick off their run! Tickets can be purchased at the box office located in Main Hall on the Wagner College Campus on Staten Island. Current Wagner College students can attend the production for free by showing their current student ID. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For more, call the box office at (718) 390-3259. Thank you to Karen O’Donnell for the photos used in this blog post. For more information, visit Wagner College Theatre’s Official Website, Facebook or Twitter. And of course, be sure to check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know!
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