Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ahrens and Flaherty: From Dead Uncles to Disney Princesses (and Rocky in the Middle)

 Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
began working together in 1983.
Lynn was a native New Yorker
(and Syracuse grad),
Stephen hailed from Pittsburgh.
Their first collaboration was a children's show
called "The Emperor's New Clothes."
After that, they were off and running 
(to Off-Broadway)
with Lucky Stiff in 1988.
And speaking of the 80s,
below is a pic from that time period. 

 Lots of shows for this pair,
and above they're beaming cuz of their very successful
revival of Once On This Island,
orginally done in 1990.
Below, a pictorial reminder of what else this pair has created!

 My Favorite Year...1992
with Josh Mostel, Evan Pappas, Andrea Martin and...
well, I'm not too sure about that dude on the right. 
Only 36 performances! 

 Ragtime, with Brian Stokes Mitchell and a young Audra McDonald.
Done in 1998, Ragtime won the songwriting team
a Tony for Best Score.

 The Glorious Ones, 2007.
Marc Kudisch (center) starred in this Off-Broadway
tale of a Renaissance period theatre company.
Here's the definitive quote from Charles Isherwood:
 "With buoyant music by Stephen Flaherty 
and a bawdy book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, 
the show mixes the lowdown pratfalls of commedia dell’arte 
with the rosy sentimentality of classic American musical comedy...
The resulting musical is a sweet but strange hybrid, 
both joyfully naughty and totally innocuous."

 Anastasia, on Broadway right now!
Lynn and Stephen wrote the songs for the animated movie,
then added more tunes for the Broadway production.

 Seussical, which opened in 2000.
Playing Horton (who heard a Who!) 
was Kevin Chamberlain
who would go on to portray Fester in The Addams Family.
The "Junior" version of this show is produced hither and yon, 
most probably at a middle school very near you!

 Rocky The Musical (2012)
starred Andy Karl and Margo Seibert.
Original music by Lynn and Stephen,
but they kept "Eye Of the Tiger"
and "Gonna Fly Now"  for old time sake. 
188 performances
(I think it did better in Stuttgart).

 A Man Of No Importance, from 2002,
with an original cast that included Jessica Molaskey,
Faith Prince and Roger Rees.
It won an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.
A theatre group in Dublin, 
whose director very much wants to put on Oscar Wilde's Salome
at his church. :)

And the one that started it all,
Lucky Stiff.
Stiff originally starred Steven Stout, Mary Testa, and Stuart Zagnit.
It ran Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizon,
and closed after 15 performances.
No where else to go but UP!

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