Theater News

Ashley Park to Star in Revamped Thoroughly Modern Millie

The 2019-20 Encores! season will also include musicals by Jerry Herman and Kurt Weill.

Ashley Park will lead the cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie in a revised production as part of the 2019-20 Encores! season.
Ashley Park will lead the cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie in a revised production as part of the 2019-20 Encores! season.
(© Tricia Baron)

The production lineup has been announced for the 2019-20 New York City Center Encores! season, led by artistic director Jack Viertel and music director Rob Berman.

The season will open with Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's Mack and Mabel (February 19-23, 2020), which follows the romantic entanglements of pioneering movie producer Mack Sennett and comedian Mabel Normand.

Next up is Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's Love Life (March 18-22, 2020), directed by Tony winner Victoria Clark. A view of American history through the eyes of a family that never ages, Love Life is described as "possibly the first 'concept' musical — where the story is interspersed with vaudeville acts that offer commentary on the main action."

The third show of the season will launch a new initiative, championed by Encores! resident director Lear deBessonet, which offers directors and their artistic colleagues opportunities to put a personal stamp on a show they love and want to present through a new lens. DeBessonet will kick off the initiative, directing a production of Dick Scanlan and Jeanine Tesori's Thoroughly Modern Millie (May 6-10, 2020), starring Tony nominee Ashley Park (Mean Girls) with playwright Lauren Yee working with the show's original authors as creative consultant to explore the work with a fresh perspective.

DeBessonet and Park offered the following statement: "We are excited to launch this new Encores! initiative by exploring controversial aspects of this 2002 story in a way that makes sense for 2020. Millie reflects the engine that has long driven both women and immigrants to create lives for themselves in New York. This big sumptuous raise-the-roof musical deals with a moment in history when the ground was shifting in terms of gender roles and race — we love the show and are especially in love with presenting a Millie for today."

City Center has additionally announced that its Annual Gala Presentation will feature a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera Evita in a special extended two-week run from November 13-24, directed by Sammi Cannold. The Gala benefit performance on November 13 will honor City Center board co-chairman Richard Witten with the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Award for distinguished service to New York City Center in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and generosity.