In this new year, a living legend of musical theater turns 90: Lyricist-bookwriter Tom Jones who also (under a stage name) appeared in the original company of his most famous and wildly successful record-breaking musical, The Fantasticks. His collaborator, composer Harvey Schmidt, won’t be 90 until next year, thus still “a tender and callow fellow,” to quote the score’s opening song, the ever-memorable “Try to Remember.”
It was a day at this very time of the year when the production’s record-breaking run closed: on January 13, 2002, after 17,162 performances. January was also the month another Jones/Schmidt show appeared: Philemon.
Their shows also include 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do!, Celebration and many more. And celebration is what it’s about when Broadway veterans Carole Demas, who originated the role of Sandy in Grease, and Sarah Rice, who originated the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd, return to celebrate Jones & Schmidt. Demas and Rice have based the show on their 50 years of work and personal relationships with Tom and Harvey.
The show, titled Thank You for Your Love, will be presented in a return engagement on Sunday, February 4 at 1:00 PM and Thursday, February 8 at :00 PM at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. Click here to purchase tickets.
Demas and Rice each played Luisa in the long-running original production of The Fantasticks. From a personal perspective, they will share their love and appreciation of years of professional work and ongoing friendships with Jones and Schmidt. This unique offering of songs, multimedia, and funny and poignant backstage/onstage stories will feature beloved favorites such as “My Cup Runneth Over,” “Try to Remember,” “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and other exquisite gems and novelty numbers sung by two of Broadway’s most captivating voices.
Thank You for Your Love is directed by award-winning actor/director Charles Repole with musical direction and additional vocals by Joe Goodrich, a special guest appearance by Broadway’s Hal Robinson, harpist Maria Banks, and veteran sound and video designer Stuart J. Allyn. The show is produced by A.D.R. Studios, Inc.
Carole Demas, Broadway and TV star, stole the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her captivating and critically-acclaimed creation of Sandy in Broadway’s iconic, original Grease. Her 57-year career has included thousands of leading role performances on and off-Broadway and in regional theatre. She originated the title role in the premiere production of Stephen Schwartz’s The Baker’s Wife, in Los Angeles. Among her other roles: two years at New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse as Luisa in The Fantasticks and the creation of original ingénue leads in Fred Ebb’s Morning Sun; Rondelay (director Cyril Ritchard, choreographer Jacques d’Amboise); Oscar Brand’s How to Steal an Election (opposite Clifton Davis); Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt’s Philemon and The Bone Room, among many others. In major regional theatres: Philia (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum); Regina (Another Part of the Forest); Angel (Schmidt & Jones’s Celebration); Wanda (Enter Laughing); Corrie (Barefoot in the Park, with Joan Bennett) and singing for the Champlain and NY Shakespeare Festivals for multiple seasons.
Carole starred with Paula Janis in TV’s most successful regional children’s series, “The Magic Garden” for over 12 years, leading to hundreds of live family concerts, audio and video recordings and recent viral posts on Facebook. She played numerous guest star roles on classic and recent prime time TV shows (including”Kojak,” “Manniz,” “Route 66,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Man from Atlantis,” “Fantastic Journey,” and the more recent shows “Bluebloods” and “Allegiance,” with recurring roles on three daytime dramas. For the popular PBS Series “Great Performances,” Carole joined other stars of the Great White Way for Lorimar’s “Showstoppers: The Best of Broadway.” On film, she starred in The 300-Year Weekend with William Devane and The Space Works for TransLux Corp. Other films include appearances in A Lovely Way to Die for Universal Films and the recently released The Disappointments Room.
Her New York City concert and cabaret performances include: Broadway Originals (The Town Hall), Off-Broadway Close-Up (Merkin Hall), 50th Anniversary celebrations for WBAI Radio, Lincoln Center Library and The Fantasticks. She is seen in NYC’s favorite cabaret venues (Feinsteins/54 Below, Birdland, The Metropolitan Room, Laurie Beechman Theatre, New World Stages annual gala, Le Poisson Rouge, The Iridium, The Triad-Stage 72, Signature Theatre, Urban Stages, Concerts For City Greens, etc.). She sang for Broadway to Barbados for two seasons and recently headlined on Crystal Cruise, Film and Theatre Cruise to French Polynesia. She is a recurring favorite star in The Ziegfeld Society Productions in New York City. Her one-woman show in NYC and other locales (including The Caribbean Theatre, St. Croix) received rave reviews…”a powerhouse of musical theatre”, “a vocal champion”, “a consummate artist,” and her voice has been described as “shimmering and thrilling with great warmth, sweetness and surprising power”. Her cabaret and concert performances have brought funds and attention to many worthy causes.
Her versatility has been seen on camera in principal roles in over 200 commercials for television (everything from men’s cologne to peanut butter and often singing the jingles as well), among them Kodak, Promise Margarine, Lipton Tea, Puss ‘n’ Boots, Wonder Bread, M&Ms, Clairol, Timex, Lysol, AT&T, etc. More at www.caroledemas.com, www.caroleandpaula.com
Sarah Rice originated the role of Marianne in a musical adaptation of The Miser called Hang On to Your Ribbons, Off-Off Broadway. This led to being cast as Luisa in the long-running original Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks. She continued in the role for over two years.
She also played Anne in A Little Night Music, Cunegonde in Candide at the Guthrie, Miranda in The Tempest, Zan in Regina, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Liesl in The Sound of Music. Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince chose her to become part of musical theatre history when she was cast as the original Johanna in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on Broadway, for which she won a Theatre World Award and her work was preserved on disc when the original cast album was recorded on RCA.
Leading soprano roles since then include Marie in Daughter of the Regiment, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mabel in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Kathie in The Student Prince, Lady Catherine in The Vagabond King, Monica in The Medium, Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario, Maria in West Side Story, Marietta in Naughty Marietta, Magnolia in Show Boat, Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera, Sarah in Bittersweet, Margot in The Desert Song, Susanna in The Secret of Susanna, Gretel in Christopher Columbus. Additionally, she appeared with Dame Joan Sutherland in The Merry Widow, played Tirese/Tiresias in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Eolo in L’Orione, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man, Jenny Lind in Barnum and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, with theater and opera companies throughout the world, including the famed Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Italy, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Dallas Opera.
Sarah Rice is a 2010 Bistro Award and 2011 MAC Award winner, Female Vocalist, for her critically acclaimed solo cabaret debut, Sarah Rice Sings SCreen Gems: Songs of Old Hollywood and was voted favorite female cabaret debut performer by Stu Hamstra’s Cabaret Hotline Online readers in 2009. Recent shows include her Ivor Novello/Noel Coward show, celebrating the music of the era of Downton Abbey, Glamorous Nights & Careless Rapture, and serial guest-starring in the award-winning Sondheim Unplugged, both at Feinstein’s/54 Below, and The Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention where she returned last year for their Sondheim evening. More at www.sarahrice.com
Tom Jones wrote the book and lyrics, and Harvey Schmidt wrote the music for The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in the history of the American theatre. Jones and Schmidt’s first Broadway musical, 110 in the Shade, had a successful run and was later revived in a production starring Audra McDonald. The team’s I Do! I Do!, the two-character musical with Mary Martin and Robert Preston, ran for a year on Broadway and a year on the road and is frequently done around the country and the world. (One production, in Minneapolis, played for twenty-two continuous years with the same two actors in the leading roles.) For several years, Jones and Schmidt worked privately at their theatre workshop, concentrating on small musicals in new and often untried forms. The most notable of these efforts were Celebration, which moved to Broadway, and Philemon, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award and was filmed for television. In addition to an Obie Award and the 1992 Special Tony for The Fantasticks, Jones and Schmidt were inducted at century’s end into the Broadway Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre and in 2012 they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Subsequent shows include Grover’s Corners, Mirette, Road Side, The Show Goes On, etc. After the retirement of Mr. Schmidt, Tom Jones has been working on three new musicals: La Tempesta, with composer Andrew Gerle; Harold and Maude, with composer Joseph Thalken and The Game of Love, with composer Jacques Offenbach (arrangements by Nancy Ford).
Charles Repole directed the highly acclaimed concert versions of DuBarry Was a Lady starring Faith Prince and Robert Morse and Call Me Madam starring Tyne Daly for the prestigious City Center Encores! series. Other Broadway directing credits include the revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which originated at the Goodspeed Opera House), The Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation Benefit at Carnegie Hall, the Easter Bonnet Competition at the Palace Theatre, A Salute to Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall and he conceived and directed the annual fundraising gala for New York City’s 92nd Street Y for over 10 years. Also an accomplished on-stage performer, he has appeared before Broadway audiences starring in Doubles, Whoopee! (a Drama Desk nomination) and Very Good Eddie (a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award). Off-Broadway credits include Olympus on My Mind. Mr. Repole is the Chairman of the Drama, Theatre and Dance Department at Queens College and was the recipient of the 2001 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Joe Goodrich is a singer, pianist and composer. He started writing songs when he was about 12, and since then has written many more, as well as several operas, musicals and orchestral and chamber music. As a singer, he has performed pop, jazz, and leading tenor roles in opera, including Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Almaviva in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Also a voice teacher, he has taught singing in the Graduate Acting Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, the Tisch School at New York University, New York’s HB Studio, and continues to have a thriving private voice studio. Joe is the former songwriting protégé of Chuck Israels, teacher to Paul Simon. Joe’s new pop album of all original songs, Invisible Man, can be found on iTunes and he can be heard singing the title role in Gounod’s Faust this fall with The New York Opera Forum. Joe is seen and heard playing once a month at Feinstein’s/54 Below as the music director for Sondheim Unplugged, where he has accompanied many original cast members of Sondheim musicals including Teri Ralston, George Lee Andrews, Ken Jennings, Sarah Rice and Jim Walton.
Stuart J. Allyn is an award-winning sound designer, consultant, recording engineer. Emmy Award for Lead Audio – “The 1994 Winter Olympics.” Theatrical Sound Designs include: critically acclaimed NY debut of Phantom by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit; New York premiere of James Michener’s Sayonara; the multi-award winning Song of Singapore – Best Off-Broadway Musical winner; Sondheim’s Company national tour; New York Shakespeare Festival’s One Flea Spare and Saturn Returns. He served The White House and recently was designer/mixer for Broadway to Barbados concerts three years running, Actors Fund benefit for Kathi Moss with 40 original cast Broadway stars from Nine, Grease, Grand Hotel and the 25th Reunion Concert of Grand Hotel. Mr. Allyn designed and mixed The MAC Award- winning City Greens Concerts and has mixed the Newport Jazz Festival, concerts at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, etc.
Other credits include: the film The Winter in Lisbon with Dizzy Gillespie, award-winning scores for Columbia Pictures; critically acclaimed independent films; specials for PBS including: “Placido Celebrates Seville” and “Sesame Street: @0 Years and Still Counting” with Ray Charles, Placido Domingo, etc.; Grammy-nominated albums Lickety Split (The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra,) and Mel Lewis: 20 Years at The Village Vanguard. Nominated for four Grammys, three Emmys, an Obie, several CLIOs, and is a winner of Emmy, ASCAP, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and three film festival awards.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located at 407 West 42nd Street, near the corner of Ninth Avenue (Theatre Row) in Manhattan. Phone: (212) 695-6909.