For the first time in its 11 year history, Manhattan Theatre Source - called "one of the top Off-Off Broadway theatres in New York" by New York Magazine - will present an open-ended run of a theatre piece - THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES - that has been developed through the company's development process. With music and lyrics by Doug Silver and book and additional lyrics by Andrew Frank, THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES' opening night is set for June 28th, 2011.
The developmental process for THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES began with a public reading in the fall of 2005, followed by another public reading in 2006, a month-long workshop in 2007 and a five month trail run in 2009, all at Manhattan Theatre Source. "With each incarnation, the show continued to develop artistically, a true collaborative process heavily involving the contributions of cast and crew as well as the numerous "guest artists" that we have involved in performances from the very start (our homage to the original "Greenwich Village Follies" of the 1920s)," stated composer/lyricist Doug Silver. "Now, here in 2011, we are bringing this work to full fruition with a full company, to run on Sunday nights indefinitely beginning on April 10th, 2011."
In a tight 80 minute revue, THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES tells - through vignettes, songs and scenes - the history of Greenwich Village, chronicling the Lenape tribe; initiAl Western settlers of the area like Peter Stuyvesant (portrayed by an audience volunteer), and a group of freed 17th century slaves whose descendants become known as "Little Africa"; the resistance in 1811 to the construction of a city-wide street grid; the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911; the Stonewall riots of 1969, and more. FOLLIES pays tribute to many of the famous artists who made the Village what it is today, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edgar Allen Poe, Eugene O'Neill, Jackson Pollock, Peter Paul & Mary, Gregory Corso, and others. It also doesn't leave out some of the more contemporary characters of the Village, like as a typical NYU student, pot dealers in Washington Square Park, and of course, a sex toy shop.
"At its heart, the piece is about art and artists, and in many ways about Manhattan Theatre Source itself," stated Mr. Silver. "Greenwich Village has always been a place where people can be who they want to be, and say what they want to say. Manhattan Theatre Source has provided such a place for hundreds of artists over its first decade, and provided us personally with an artistic home in which we were free to slowly and lovingly craft this little theatre piece over time, in front of audiences, and create a valentine to the Village."
"The Follies were born out of our genuine interest, love and desire to celebrate The Village, its characters, its history and its collective voice that influenced at times the entire country," continued Mr. Frank.
Directed by John-Andrew Morrison, the cast of THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES features a rotating cast, which includes: Meghann Dreyfuss, Patti Goettlicher, John-Andrew Morrison, Guy Olivieri, Kevin R. Free, Christopher French, Nikki Jenkins, and Alyssa Malgeri. The band features Michael Harren (piano) and Spencer Cohen (percussion).
Doug Silver and Andrew Frank - are childhood friends and musical theatre collaborators. Mr. Frank is the Founding Artistic Director of Manhattan Theatre Source and Mr. Silver is an original founding member. The original concept for THE GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES came from Fran Kirmser, the founding Producing Director of Manhattan Theatre Source. In addition to FOLLIES, Doug and Andrew wrote SIDD, a musical based the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, produced Off-Broadway at New World Stages and were members of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Andrew also has an extensive career directing - musicals, classics and new works; Doug has a successful career as a composer, musician and music teacher.