Bayou City Concert Musicals was proud to open its 2014-15 season with the Houston premiere of NEW GIRL IN TOWN, the 1957 Tony Award-nominated musical by Broadway master George Abbott and then-newcomer Bob Merrill, who went on to more Broadway fame as the composer of FUNNY GIRL.
NEW GIRL IN TOWN is loosely based on Eugene O’Neill’s 1921 play, ANNA CHRISTIE, but since this is a George Abbott show, “loosely” is the operative word. Mr. Abbott would never tolerate the gloom and doom of the original, so NEW GIRL IN TOWN is at its core a moving story of family and love wrapped in a musical comedy.
The story is a simple one: Anna Christophersen returns to her father’s home after fifteen years to pick up the pieces of her life. She learns to fit in and even falls in love with a handsome sailor until her father’s friend, Marthy, spills the truth about Anna’s past, nearly destroying her dream of happiness.
Originally written for Gwen Verdon, the part of Anna was a perfect fit for Houston’s own Krissy Richmond, who followed her tenure as a principal dancer for Houston Ballet with a successful career on Broadway. Since her return to Houston, Krissy has choreographed several BCCM shows and starred as Dorothy in BCCM’s 2009 production of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.
John Gremillion returned to the BCCM stage as Mat Burke, the sailor who falls in love with Anna. Julliard-trained, John is one of Houston’s most accomplished actors on both the musical and dramatic stage.
Bayou City Concert Musicals was honored to be asked by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to provide the musical entertainment for the opening night of the annual YULETIDE NIGHTS: SPIRITS OF HOLIDAYS PAST celebration at the historic Bayou Bend home of the late Ima Hogg. This year, the exhibition featured a children’s Christmas party at Andrew Jackson’s White House, a children’s tea and dancing party in 1700s Philadelphia, and a punch party for the Sons of Liberty in pre-Revolutionary Boston.
As we delighted at the festive lights, decorations, and holiday room settings that brought Early American holiday celebrations to life, we enjoyed some of Houston’s favorite musical theatre performers (Jennifer Gilbert, John Gremillion, Joe Kirkendall, Joel Sandel, and Tamara Siler) singing from the Great American Christmas Songbook. We heard our favorites from Broadway and the movies with a few traditional tunes thrown in for good measure, all under the direction of BCCM Musical Director Michael Mertz.
The 2015 BCCM Cabaret series opened on Saturday, February 21, 2015, featuring the songs of the iconic team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. MY ROMANCE: THE SONGBOOK OF RODGERS & HART took us from “There’s a Small Hotel” through “Johnny One Note” and “Little Girl Blue” all the way to “I Wish I Were in Love Again.”
This wonderful music was sung by Zach Bryant, Adam Gibbs, Grace Givens, Danica Dawn Johnston, Amanda Passanante, Joel Sandel, and Susan Shofner. With musical direction by Michael Mertz and a stroll through the history of Rodgers & Hart by BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope, the evening was a music lover’s delight.
Audiences joined Bayou City Concert Musicals for RIDIN’ HIGH—COLE PORTER IN THE 1930s at the Performance Centre of the Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main, May 16-18, 2015.
One of America’s all-time favorite songwriters, Cole Porter was, indeed, “ridin’ high” in the 1930s. The master of memorable tunes and sophisticated (some might even say risqué) lyrics wrote hit after hit for Broadway and Hollywood beginning with one of Porter’s personal favorites, Love For Sale, in 1930 for the Broadway show, THE NEW YORKERS. The decade was perhaps Porter’s most creative with songs including “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”, “Let’s Do It”, “You’re The Top”, “Just One of Those Things”, “Begin the Beguine”, and “Night and Day” from his Broadway hits and “You’d Be So Easy to Love”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “In the Still of the Night”, and even “Don’t Fence Me In” for the movies.