Tony winners Christian Borle and Shuler Hensley will lead two of three musicals presented by Encores! as part of their 2014 season. Borle will lead John Rando’s production of Little Me from February 5 through February 9. Hensley will star in Casey Nicholaw’s staging of The Most Happy Fella from April 2 through April 6. The season will conclude with Tony-winning director John Doyle’s production of Irma La Douce May 7 through 11. Rob Berman will musically direct all three shows at New York's City Center.
Neil Simon’s first musical, Little Me is the story of the glamorous Belle Poitrine, a self-invented celebrity who has spent her life in pursuit of wealth, culture and social position. Her seven oddball lovers are played by one actor (Borle), from an innocent college boy to an octogenarian lecher to the dying king of a tiny European country that doesn’t seem to exist. The comedy features music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. Little Me premiered in November 1962 with Sid Caesar in the roles to be played by Borle and was revived in 1982 and 1998. The latter revival netted a Best Actor Tony for Martin Short.
The Most Happy Fella centers around a love triangle between an aging Napa Valley farmer (Hensley), a young waitress and a handsome, restless ranch hand. The Tony-nominated musical includes book, music and lyrics by Tony winner Frank Loesser. The show premiered on Broadway in May 1956 and was most recently revived in 1992 in a production starring opera singer Spiro Malas.
Irma La Douce tells the tale of a Parisian prostitute and the law student who falls in love with her. The first-non-American penned musical produced by Encores! features music by Marguerite Monnot and English book and lyrics by Julian More, David Heneker and Monty Norman. After a three-year run in Paris, the show premiered on Broadway in September 1960.
Borle, who is completeing his run as composer Tom Levitt in NBC's Smash, won a Tony for Peter and the Starcatcher and was nominated for a Tony for Legally Blonde. Additional Broadway credits include Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot and Footloose.
Hensley most recently won raves for his off-Broadway performance in The Whale. A Tony winner for Oklahoma!, he has appeared on Broadway in Young Frankenstein and Les Miserables. Hensley was featured in the Encores! production of Fiorello!
Additional casting and creative teams are yet to be announced.