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Title BWW Exclusive: Original Off-Broadway Team Takes GEORGE M. COHAN TONIGHT! to Seoul
  • Korea SIM card (ip:)
  • 2016-07-12 17:39:27
  • Views 1007

A decade after it opened Off-Broadway in New York at the Irish Repertory Theater, "George M. Cohan Tonight!" -- written and directed by Chip Deffaa, and starring Jon Peterson -- has opened in Seoul, Korea, with the original Off-Broadway team.

Deffaa comments, from Seoul: "The show has played Korea before, but with Korean stars performing the show in Korean. This time, we've brought over Jon Peterson, who starred in the original Off-Broadway production 10 years ago -- and for my money, he's as great a song-and-dance man as anyone working today. He's performing in English, with projected Korean super-titles.Richard Danley, who's been my first-call music director in New York for a decade, once again leads the band."

Honored guests on opening night included Im Chun Gil (Korea's biggest musical-theater star, and the first actor, outside of New York City, to ever star in "George M. Cohan Tonight!") and William M. Maurer and Maria Choi (of the U.S. embassy.) This production is being produced by You Chul Kim and the Wooran Foundation, with assistance from Hansaem Song, who mounted the first Korean production in 2007. Younghwa Cha is the production manager.

Deffaa notes: "I never dreamed, when Jon Peterson first auditioned for me at Ripley-Grier Studios in New York, years ago, that we'd be taking this show to so many different cities, in the U.S. and abroad. But it has a universal appeal. And our Korean hosts are just terrific."

Published and licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights, "George M. Cohan Tonight!" is one of 16 published plays written by ASCAP Award-winner Deffaa, and he hopes that others plays of his -- such as "One Night with Fanny Brice," "The Songwriter," "Theater Boys," "Mad About the Boy," and "The Seven Little Foys" -- can be produced in Korea by the same team.

Both "George M. Cohan Tonight!" and its star, Jon Peterson-- who starred in many shows in his native England before being brought to the U.S. to star in the national tour of "Cabaret"--have received assorted awards and accolades. Peterson has been honored by the Drama League, nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and has won a Bistro Award and a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of Cohan. The show has won an IRNE Award and a North Hollywood Fringe Festival Award The original cast album, starring Peterson, is available from Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom Records.

Cohan (1878-1942) was known in his day as "The Man Who Owned Broadway." He rose to the top of his profession as a performer, playwright, songwriter,director, and producer, and made American musicals the pace-setters for the world. He wrote more than 50 shows, often starring in his own productions. "He never took a class in playwriting or songwriting; he simply went out and did the things he wanted to do, learning by doing, He's been a lifelong source of inspiration for me," notes Deffaa. "There was much sadness--not just joy--in his life, but his boundless spirit, which comes through so strongly in his songs, continues to touch people."

The score of "George M. Cohan Tonight!" includes more than 30 Cohan songs. Not just the classic numbers that most people know--such as as "Give My Regards to Broadway," "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Mary," "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Over There," and "Harrigan" -- but wondrous rarities and rediscoveries, unheard in a century -- that Deffaa has brought to light.

"I've been collecting Cohan sheet music for much of life, and somewhere along the way I've assembled one of the two major private collections of Cohan sheet music and memorabilia in the world -- Marq Stankowski has the other one. And it's a joy to be able to include some of the lesser-known Cohan gems in the score, along with the well-known favorites. The music is just great. Cohan and Irving Berlin have long been two of my all-time favorite songwriters. The songs are pure Americana. And yet it doesn't seem to matter if we're doing the show in New York or Boston, or Coral Springs or Hollywood, or London... or Seoul. The songs and the story just speak to people."

From: http://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway/article/BWW-Exclusive-Original-Off-Broadway-Team-Takes-GEORGE-M-COHAN-TONIGHT-to-Seoul-20160711

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