Majestic Theatre, (12/14/1978 - 3/24/1979)

First Preview: Dec 01, 1978
Opening Date: Dec 14, 1978
Closing Date: Mar 24, 1979
Total Previews: 11
Total Performances: 116

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway
Setting: The Bronx. The Present.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Michael Bennett; Co - Producer: Bob Avian, Bernard Gersten and Susan MacNair

Book by Jerome Kass; Music by Billy Goldenberg; Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman; Music orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick; Musical Director: Don Jennings

Directed by Michael Bennett; Choreographed by Michael Bennett; Co - Choreographer: Bob Avian

Scenic Design by Robin Wagner; Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge; Lighting Design by Tharon Musser; Sound Design by Otts Munderloh; Hair Design by Ted Azar

General Manager: Maurice Schaded; Company Manager: Sally Campbell

Production Stage Manager: Jeff Hamlin; Stage Manager: David Taylor; Technical Coordinator: Arthur Siccardi

Music Contractor: Seymour "Red" Press

General Press Representative: Merle Debuskey; Press Representative: Leo Stern; Casting: Shirley Rich; Advertising: Serino, Coyne & Nappi

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Opening Night Cast

Vincent GardeniaAlfred Rossi
Dorothy LoudonBea Asher
Peter AlzadoDavid
Bea's son
Danny Carroll"Scooter"
Marilyn CooperNatalie
Ensemble
Dick CorriganEnsemble
Dorothy DannerDiane
Bea's daughter
Patricia DrylieAngie
Barbara ErwinMartha
David EvansCarl
Bud FlemingEnsemble
Carol FlemmingKathy
Ensemble
Peter GladkeThomas
Victor GriffinHarry "The Noodle"
Svetlana McLee GrodyAnitra
Mickey GunnersonEnsemble
John HallowJack
Bea's brother-in-law
Roberta HazeFaye
Estelle
Sally-Jane HeitHelen
Bea's sister-in-law
Alfred KarlEnsemble
Adriana KeathleyMarie
Gene KeltonPetey
Bernie KneeNathan Bricker
Dorothy D. ListerEnsemble
John J. MartinEnsemble
Joe MilanEnsemble
Mary Ann NilesEmily
Howard ParkerJohnny "Lightfeet"
Frank PietriEnsemble
Mavis RayMargaret
Lynn RobertsMarlene
Liz SheridanShirley
Rudy TrontoBill
Jayne TurnerEleanor
Terry ViolinoMario
Michael VitaPaul
Janet Stewart WhitePauline Krim

Swings: Kathie Dalton and Ken Urmston

Understudies: Marilyn Cooper (Helen, Marlene), Carol Flemming (Diane), Roberta Haze (Eleanor), Alfred Karl (David), Adriana Keathley (Emily, Martha, Shirley), Gene Kelton (Johnny "Lightfeet"), John J. Martin (Alfred Rossi), Joe Milan (Jack), Mary Ann Niles (Angie), Liz Sheridan (Bea Asher), Rudy Tronto ("Scooter"), Jayne Turner (Pauline Krim) and Michael Vita (Nathan Bricker)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1979 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Michael Bennett, Bob Avian, Bernard Gersten and Susan MacNair

 1979 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Jerome Kass

 1979 Best Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Vincent Gardenia

 1979 Best Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Dorothy Loudon

 1979 Best Costume Design [nominee] 

Theoni V. Aldredge

 1979 Best Lighting Design [nominee] 

Tharon Musser

winner 1979 Best Choreography [winner] 

Michael Bennett

winner 1979 Best Choreography [winner] 

Bob Avian

 1979 Best Direction of a Musical [nominee] 

Michael Bennett

Drama Desk Award

 1979 Outstanding Book [nominee] 

Book by Jerome Kass

 1979 Outstanding Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Dorothy Loudon

 1979 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Patricia Drylie

winner 1979 Outstanding Choreography [winner] 

Michael Bennett

winner 1979 Outstanding Choreography [winner] 

Bob Avian

 1979 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Michael Bennett

 1979 Outstanding Costume Design [nominee] 

Theoni V. Aldredge

 1979 Outstanding Lighting Design [nominee] 

Tharon Musser

Songs

ACT 1 Sung By
A Terrific Band and A Real Nice Crowd
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Bea Asher
A Song for Dancing
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Ensemble, Marlene and Nathan Bricker
One By One
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Angie, Johnny "Lightfeet", The Ballroom Regulars, Marlene and Nathan Bricker
The Dance Montage
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
The Ballroom Regulars
Dreams
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Marlene
Somebody Did Alright for Herself
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Bea Asher
The Tango Contest
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Emily, Mario, Bea Asher, Alfred Rossi, Martha, Petey, Anitra, Carl, Shirley, Paul, Margaret, Thomas, Marie and Harry "The Noodle"
Goodnight Is Not Goodbye
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
The Ballroom Regulars, Marlene and Natalie
I've Been Waiting All My Life
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
The Ballroom Regulars and Nathan Bricker
I Love To Dance
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Bea Asher
More of the Same
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
The Ballroom Regulars
I Love To Dance
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Alfred Rossi
More of the Same
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Marlene and Nathan Bricker
Fifty Percent
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Bea Asher
The Stardust Waltz
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
The Ballroom Regulars
I Wish You A Waltz
(lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman)
Bea Asher

Reviews


New York Daily News: "A Pretty 'Ballroom' Lacks Excitement"

Give Michael Bennett a floor full of dancers to work with and he can create visual enchantment. And he does time and again in "Ballroom," last night's sentimental new musical at the Majestic. But neither the book nor the songs properly support the director choreographer, and the evening lacks bite and excitement.

The Stardust Ballroom, lookng much too magical for its Bronx setting in Robin Wagner's eye-catching design with its revolving and retractable mirrored globe and even revolving mirrored walls, is a sort of senior citizens' refuge. Though the folk who gather here are learning the hustle, their hearts and limbs respond most enthusiastically to the samba, fox-trot, waltz, tango and cha-cha. Interestingly, however, and perhaps because Jonathan Tunick's superlative orchestrations reach a crescendo here, a climactic dance with a disco beat provides the most stimulation.

The story - a mere situation, really - finds a widowed grandmother (Dorothy Loudon) drawn from her dull daily routine of running a second-hand-goods shop by day and watching TV by night to enounter new life and new love at the Stardust Ballroom, where one can find congenial companions and healthful exercise. 

There, Bea Asher shyly meets, dances with and falls in love with Al Rossi, a mailman, played by Vincent Gardenia. The evening's one big jolt comes with his belated confession that he's married. But what the hell this is the '70s and he's for dancing as well as loving, so let the dance go on.

While this intermissionless musical necessarily contains scenes in Bea's flat and store and in the street, the ballroom and the dancers dominate the action. And though these ghostly figures whirling and Lindying through space in their hard-earned finery are graceful and charming to watch, the combination of their own nostalgia and the sentimental love story begin to weigh on our spirits.

It is no accident that although Miss Loudon Presents a lovely and appealing figure in a variety of flattering frocks, this talented comedienne achieves her finest moment when she flatly tells her shocked sister-in-law, "Go home, Helen!" For most of the rest of the evening, aside from a few homey touches, she's simply part of the dream world Bennett is so skillful in summoning up in dance.

Bsed on a TV musical play with which I am unfamiliar, "Ballroom" has been redone by the same writers (Jerome Kass, book; Billy Goldenberg, music Alan and Marilyn Bergman, lyrics). The book being negligible, that leaves the songs, and they're negligible, too. They are, in fact, so commonplace that they seem almost a parody of the swing-band era and Tin Pan Alley. They could give the '40s a bad name.

The cast, consisting entirely of mature performers, most of them excellent dancers, includes (besides its winning stars) Patricia Drylie as Bea's salty, aging but high-kicking friend, a diner waitress who introduces Bea to the Stardust. Sally-Jane Heit and John Hallow as Bea's in-laws and Dorothy Dnner and Peter Alzado as her grown children are adequately set forth. But it is the large array of veteran dancers who are the show's true stars.

Theoni V. Aldredge's costumes and Tharon Musser's lighting are all that could be desired, and the Stardust band, with its white-haired male crooner and cutesy-pie girl singer, are perfect.

But like the spectral figures dancing to past sounds into a silent future, "Ballroom" seems to evaporate before our eyes.


New York Daily News
12/15/1978

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