Given the vocal difficulty of the role of Lili in Carnival, many were surprised at the announcement that, in the upcoming Encores! Series presentation of the musical, the part will be played by 19-year-old Anne Hathaway. The actress made a big-screen splash recently: Co-starring with Julie Andrews in Disney's The Princess Diaries, she managed to give a winning performance despite the film's substandard script and poor direction. Though the public at large doesn't know Hathaway as a singer or a stage actress, the Brooklyn native appeared in productions of Gigi and Jane Eyre at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey and, in 1998, was nominated for the theater's Rising Star Award for her performance as Winnifred in a high school production of Once Upon a Mattress. She was also the first and only teenager admitted to the acting program of The Barrow Group in NYC.
Hathaway, who currently attends Vassar, is also known for her role of Meghan Greene on the short-lived Fox TV series Get Real. Her co-stars in the Encores! Carnival--to be presented February 7-10 at City Center, directed by Kathleen Marshall--will be Brian Stokes Mitchell as Paul Berthalet, Douglas Sills as Marco the Magnificent, and Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte as Rosalie. In the original, 1961 Broadway production of the show, these roles were respectively played by Jerry Orbach, James Mitchell, and Kaye Ballard. The original Lili was Anna Maria Alberghetti. With music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and a book by Michael Stewart, the musical is based on the 1953 M-G-M film Lili, which starred Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer.
A victim of mostly negative reviews and mixed word-of-mouth, Summer of '42 will close at the Variety Arts Theatre on January 27.
Based on screenplay of the 1971 film of the same title and the preceding novel, both by Herman Raucher, the musical tells the autobiographical story of a teenager who develops a serious crush on a war bride while vacationing on an island off the coast of New England during World War II. The show has music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum and a book by Hunter Foster. It stars Ryan Driscoll as Hermie and Kate Jennings Grant as Dorothy; the featured cast consists of Brett Tabisel, Jason Marcus, Bill Kux, Greg Stone, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Megan Valerie Walker, and Erin Webley. Directed by Gabriel Barre, the show opened at the Variety Arts on December 18, and will have played for 47 regular performances and 11 previews upon its closing.
David Finkle ended his TheaterMania review of the show as follows: "Summer of '42 is set at just about the same time as South Pacific. Perhaps comparisons are odious but, insofar as the two musicals are wartime romances, they mean to plumb some of the same feelings. The 1949 Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein-Joshua Logan blockbuster is set, of course, in the Pacific, and Summer of '42 on the Atlantic; but whereas the R&H classic is heart-stopping, never before has the Atlantic seemed so pacific as in this summer of '42."
The cabaret and theater community is still reeling from the arrest on January 14 of John Loan, who is charged with embezzling almost $3.2 million from his employer, Alliance Capital Management, a mutual funds investment company. Though initial reports of Loan's arrest failed to make the connection, Loan is also known as John Jerome: Under that alias, he founded Jerome Records, which has produced recordings by such performers as Karen Mason, Heather Mac Rae, Stephanie Pope, Philip Officer, and Jeff Harnar, and was planning releases by many other musical theater/cabaret artists. Loan, who was manager of dining services at Alliance, allegedly stole the money by setting up a company called Beautiful Parties, submitting fake invoices to Alliance, and then cashing the checks that were cut in payment of those invoices.
No comment on the arrest was offered by Jerome Records' press agent, and the label's website no longer seems to be functioning. At the time of Loan's arrest, plans were reportedly afoot for Jerome Records to merge with the After 9 label. Cabaret performer and entrepreneur Jamie de Roy, who had professional dealings with Loan, told TheaterMania: "Never for one minute did I think that there was anything not kosher going on. I like the guy and I trusted him. I'm just shocked. I keep hoping to get a phone call from someone saying that the arrest was a terrible mistake." (Ironically, the Jerome Records motto is, or was, "You're going to be surprised.")
According to one performer who worked with Loan and spoke to TheaterMania on the condition of anonymity, "He was very kind to a lot of people but he always seemed a bit odd. For one thing, he didn't seem to know a lot about show business, even though he was making these albums. I think cabaret and Broadway performers were thrilled to have his support--but if he really did what they said he did, that's truly evil. And who knows what the repercussions will be?" An employee of Alliance Capital told TheaterMania that a grand jury hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, January 17, to see if the case will go to trial.