Majestic Theatre, (10/29/1977 - 7/01/1978)

First Preview: Oct 22, 1977
Opening Date: Oct 29, 1977
Closing Date: Jul 01, 1978
Total Previews: 6
Total Performances: 233

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway
Setting: Michelle Craig at the Hotel Las Vegas; her nightclub act and her memories.

Opening Night Production Staff

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

Presented by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President); Produced by Feuer & Martin

Book by George Furth; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb; Musical Director: Stanley Lebowsky; Music orchestrated by Ralph Burns; Dance arrangements by Ron Melrose; Vocal and Choral arrangements by Earl Brown

Directed by Martin Scorsese; Choreographed by Ron Lewis; Uncredited consultation: Gower Champion

Scenic Design by Tony Walton; Lighting Design by Tharon Musser; Costume Design by Halston; Sound Design by Abe Jacob; Miss Minnelli's hairstyle by Sydney Guilaroff

General Manager: Joseph Harris and Ira Bernstein

Production Stage Manager: Phil Friedman; Stage Manager: Robert Corpora

General Press Representative: Merle Debuskey; Press Representative: Leo Stern; Dance Captain: Wayne Cilento; Advertising Representative: Blaine-Thompson and Don Josephson

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Opening Night Cast

Liza MinnelliMichelle Craig
Barry NelsonDan Connors
Claudia AsburyDance Alternate
Christopher BarrettLenny Kanter
Wayne CilentoOne of The Boys
Gayle CrofootMolly Connors
Carol EsteyOne of The Girls
Mark GoddardCharley Price
Michael LeedsOne of The Boys
Roger MinamiArthur
One of The Boys
Laurie Dawn SkinnerOne of The Girls
Arnold SoboloffNat Schreiber
Albert StephensonOne of The Boys
Brad WitsgerDance Alternate

Understudies: Christopher Barrett (Charley Price, Dan Connors, Nat Schreiber) and Laurie Dawn Skinner (Molly Connors)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1978 Best Original Score [nominee] 

Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb

 1978 Best Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Barry Nelson

winner 1978 Best Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Liza Minnelli

 1978 Best Costume Design [nominee] 

Halston

 1978 Best Lighting Design [nominee] 

Tharon Musser

 1978 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Ron Lewis

Songs

music by John Kander; lyrics by Fred Ebb

ACT 1 Sung By
Shine It OnMichelle Craig and Chorus
It's the Strangest ThingMichelle Craig
Bobo'sMichelle Craig and Dancers
Turning (Shaker hymn)
Little Do They KnowBoys and Girls
Arthur in the AfternoonMichelle Craig and Arthur
Hollywood, CaliforniaMichelle Craig and Dancers
The Money TreeMichelle Craig
ACT 2 Sung By
City LightsMichelle Craig and Chorus
There When I Need HimMichelle Craig
Hot Enough for You?Michelle Craig and Dancers
Little Do They Know (Reprise) Boys and Girls
Finale
My Own SpaceMichelle Craig

Reviews


New York Daily News: "Liza in 'The Act' - the winner and still champion"

It's not Liza Minnelli IN "The Act" that you catch at the Majestic, where the vibrant, long-legged song-and-dance star was introduced Saturday night in a big-band stage show with a sunburst opening effect. Liza Minnelli IS "The Act," a performer out to kill and audience with everything except bodily contact, and it almost goes without saying that on her own terms she emerges triumphant.

The terms are those of a prime sporting event; I'd compare it with a championship fight in which the title-holder challenges that ever-tricky body, the audience, which the late Oscar Hammerstein referred to as "the big black giant," and by means of artful feinting and dazzling combinations wins by a technical knockout along about 11 p.m. Cheers!

Evidently because of a touching desire on the part of all concerned to make this a Broadway "musical" rather than just another in-person show, there is the thread of a story, a flashback involving the career of a has-been movie star now making her comeback with a flashy, costly night club act in that neon graveyard of show-biz called Las Vegas. It involves a cynical, energetic, thrice-married film producer, played by Barry Nelson with remarkable charm under the chilly circumstances, and the girl he has groomed to stardom only to dump her later on and reunite with her in the end, of course. Just to make things different, the hawk-faced Arnold Soboloff plays a gay and lovable songwriter who dies falling across the piano keys.

These little scenes are played "in one" in spotlighted areas of the forestage and quickly swept into the wings to make way for glittering new production numbers all built around songs by John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (words), a team expert at this sort of thing and that has here shrewdly and loyally provided the requisite show-stoppers for the star.

Miss Minnelli plays a character named Michelle Craig from the ages of 16 to 32 and she plays her directly to her "Las Vegas" audience, aside from those silly asides. Wearing a series of flashing, iridescent, form-fitting, pailletted gowns slit up the thighs, else clad in both more or less, including a white man's suit with vinyl spats and fedora for the surefire second-act opener "City Lights," the star dances, slithers, scampers and sings her way bak and forth across the stage. She works in front of a big band, divided by a circular platform that can elbow-lift its way up and down and on which she sometimes perches, and with eight dancing chorus kids who move their lips to recordings by polished backup vocal groups.

What is one to say of such cold perfection? Yes, cold, for this show, and especially the glacial love-story interludes with their corny smart talk ("book" by George Furth), is all technique and expertise "as cold as a stripper's behind," to quote Nelson. Whatever else the star radiates, it's not warmth, though I'm aware that those balcony devotees who got so caught up in Michelle's adventures that they hollered "We love you, Liza!" would kill to refute this. And after awhile, I got tired of the constant assault on the senses. I did though, find pleasure and admiration in, besides the obvious but on-target "City Lights," a bitter-grinning song about today's violent world ("Hot Enough for You?"), a song with an upside-down Brecht-Weill smile about a small-town bar-and-grill "Bobo's"), a dandy tongue-in-cheek piece ("Hollywood, California") and a very pretty and quiet next-to-closing song, the star seated on the floor and accompanied by piano alone ("My Own Space").

Although Gower Champion, in charge during recent weeks, receives no program mention ("directed by Martin Scorcese" and "choreography by Ron Lewis"), I thought I could detect his light hand everywhere.

Scenery (abstract backdrops) by Tony Walton, lighting by Tharon Musser, costumes by Halston, sound (it went dead a few times) by Abe Jacob, orchestrations by Ralph Burns, musical direction by Stanley Lebowsky...one could go on and on. But everything by sheer guts says it all.


New York Daily News
10/31/1977

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Majestic Theatre

(10/29/1977 - 7/1/1978)

Cast

Steve Anthony
Dance Alternate
Claudia Asbury
One of The Girls
Mace Barrett
Danny Buraczeski
One of The Boys
Gower Champion
Dan Connors (Apr 25, 1978 - ?)
Karen DiBianco
Dance Alternate
Laurie Dawn Skinner
Molly Connors


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