ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical began previews on August 9 with a standing ovation after the brilliant and much appreciated performance. Previews continued the rest of the week to enthusiastic audiences as well. Former Governor David Patterson and Elisa Stein, widow of Joseph Stein, attended previews this week. Opening night was Saturday, August 13 with audience members including Bay Street Board Members Joy Behar and Mercedes Ruehl, Hilary Knight of "Eloise" fame, Joe Pintauro, Harris Yulin, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson. The tuneful show based on the early life of Carl Reiner runs through September 4. The show features a book by the legendary Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof, Zorba), music and lyrics by Stan Daniels ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Taxi").
ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical, features an Actor's Equity cast of Broadway and television favorites including Jill Eikenberry ("L.A. Law," Into The Woods), Josh Grisetti (Broadway Bound), Richard Kind (The Producers, Sly Fox), Kate Shindle (Wonderland) and Michael Tucker ("L.A. Law"). Others in the cast include Paul Binotto, Betsy DiLellio, Ray DeMattis, Erick Devine, Eric Mann (non equity), Gerry McIntyre, Gina Milo and Emily Shoolin. ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical is produced and presented by Bay Street Theatre by special arrangement with Dan Whitten (Jacques Brel..., Jay Johnson: The Two and Only, Jersey Boys) and Tiger Theatricals in Association with Carl Reiner (Grammy Award and twelve-time Emmy Award-winner; (Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen) who wrote the semi-autobiographical novel on which the musical is based.
The celebrated production, with direction and musical staging by Stuart Ross (Forever Plaid, Radiant Baby), music direction by Phil Reno (Promises, Promises and The Drowsy Chaperone) and music arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle. The show is produced by special arrangement with Dan Whitten and Tiger Theatricals in Association with Carl Reiner, played a critically-acclaimed run at Off-Broadway's York Theatre in 2008 with The New York Times raving "Hilarious! Josh Grisetti delivers a smashing comedic performance with a gung-ho supporting cast, nutty songs and witty staging. It works so well." The Daily News said "I cannot remember when I have laughed as hard and as uncontrollably," and the New York Post calling it "The funniest tuner to hit town since The Producers. You may not enter the theatre laughing, but once there you're guaranteed not to stop."
After the initial limited Off-Broadway production returned to The York for a second limited engagement, producer Dan Whitten announced that he will bring the show to Broadway. The production plays at Bay Street Theatre before continuing on its journey to Broadway.
Joseph Stein first adapted Reiner's novel in 1964 when it enjoyed a successful Broadway run starring Alan Arkin. The musical adaptation was originally presented on Broadway in 1976 starring Robert Morse with the title So Long 174th Street.
Set in 1930's, ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical tells the story of young, hapless David Kolowitz, a shop boy from the Bronx who pursues his dream of becoming a leading man on stage while facing mounting pressures from his despondent girlfriend, dismissive boss, distracted best friend, disgusted acting coach and disapproving parents. The Bay Street Theatre production of ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical will also feature Gina Milo, Erick Devine, Eric Mann, Paul Binotto, Gerry McIntyre, Betsy DiLello, Emily Shoolin, Ray DeMattis and Phil Reno. The production features scenic design by James Morgan (Molly Sweeney), costumed design by David Toser (Oh Coward!), lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington (Chicago), and sound design by Tony Melfa (Talley's Folly).
"I started laughing one minute after the curtain went up on Enter Laughing, The Musical, and continued laughing for hours after the curtain came down," says Carl Reiner. "I deeply appreciate the creative talent who succeeded in immortalizing my youth."
"Working with Carl Reiner and Joe Stein has been a wonderful and humbling experience," says producer Dan Whitten, "I'm very grateful that two men of their legendary talents can be so human, approachable and supportive."
More information can be found at www.EnterLaughingTheMusical.com or www.BayStreet.org.
Tickets for ENTER LAUGHING, The Musical are available by calling the Bay Street Theatre Box Office at 631-725-9500 or log on to www.baystreet.org. Performances are Tuesday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm with matinees Wednesdays at 2 pm (8/17, 8/24, 8/31) and Saturdays at 4 pm (8/20, 8/27). Tickets are $65 - $75.
Bay Street Theatre is a not-for-profit regional theater presenting new, classic and contemporary works, with a commitment to challenging and entertaining our diverse community. This commitment extends to innovative educational programs that highlight the power of live theater. It is our mission to be an artistic haven for an extended family of artists and audience, while continuing to provide a gathering place to share in the unique collective theatrical experience.
Photo Credit: Barry Gordin/theaterlife.com.
Anne Jackson, Sybil Christopher and Eli Wallach
Paul Libin and Richard Kind
Josh Grisetti and Stephen Flaherty
Murphy Davis, Steve Janowitz and Joy Behar
David Geiser and Mercedes Ruehl