A re-conceived adaptation of the classic Rodgers & Hart musical Pal Joey will hit the stage at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre from September 4 through September 29. Directed by Tony-winning producer Peter Schneider, the show features a new book by arts journalist Patrick Pacheco and six new songs from the Rodgers & Hart catalogue.
The cast will include Clifton Oliver as Joey, Erica Hanrahan-Ball as Vera, Jonas Cohen as Ted, Stephanie Umoh as Linda, Danielle Erin Rhodes as Gladys, Elise Kinnon as Trixie, Jordy Lievers as Val, Matthew K. Tatus as Mike, Ian Jordan Subsara as Cubby, Joel Pellini as Nick and Jeffrey Johnson II as Robert/Jerry.
Best known for the 1957 film starring Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth, Pal Joey tells the story of a wise-cracking, womanizing singer who romances a wealthy, lonely widow in an effort to get her to finance a nightclub of his own. Now set in 1948, the Arkansas rep production will feature African-American actors as Joey and his true love Linda, with white performers as society dame Vera and a male pianist who also falls in love with Joey. In addition to the iconic score (including songs like “I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered”), the revised production will incorporate six new Rodgers & Hart tunes, including “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Sing For Your Supper,” “What is a Man?” and “Glad to be Unhappy.”
The production (based on the original libretto by John O'Hara) received a concert reading in Pasadena in 2012; the Arkansas Rep production will feature choreography by Dan Knechtges and feature musical supervision/arrangements/orchestrations by Michael Reno.
Pal Joey premiered on Broadway in 1940 and has since enjoyed four revivals, the most recent of which played Studio 54 and starred Stockard Channing, Matthew Risch and Martha Plimpton.