Rodgers and Hart classic ‘Babes in Arms’ coming to 42nd Street Moon

Babes in Arms is the granddaddy of all “barn musical” shows.

Theater News - San Francisco

Theater News - San Francisco42nd Street Moon, the company that presents intimate productions of uncommon musicals, has chosen a show perfectly suited to the holiday season: Babes in Arms by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, with the script adapted by John Guare. The show features the memorable popular classics “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Johnny One-Note,” “Where or When?” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” and “All at Once.” Low-priced previews will be presented at the Eureka Theatre on December 1, 2 and 3, with the Opening on Saturday, December 4 at 6 pm. It will run through December 19.

“Babes in Arms is the granddaddy of all “barn musical” shows – and it has one of the greatest musical theatre scores ever written,” said Moon Artistic Director Greg MacKellan. “Most people have seen the 1950s rewrite of Babes, but in 1999, New York’s Encores! series restored the original script and score, and that’s the version we did later that year. We’re delighted to be bringing it back in a new production. The book has more to it than people may know – I think it will surprise audiences, which is what we want to do.”

Dyan McBride heads the creative team as director. She has worked with 42nd Street Moon as a performer and director since 1995, and also serves as Education Director for the newly created MoonSchool. Her directorial credits with the company include Do Re Mi, Mack & Mabel, and Call Me Madam. “I love Babes in Arms because it is hopeful and full of spirit,” McBride said. “It’s clever, inventive, fun, zany and charged with the excitement of youth.” Dave Dobrusky will once again serve as musical director, and Zack Thomas Wilde will provide the choreography.

Heading the cast as “funny valentine” Val LaMar is Michael Scott Wells, in his debut role with the company. He plays opposite Moon favorite, Alexandra Kaprielian, starring as the resourceful heroine Billie Smith. Joshua James appears as Val’s best friend, Marshall Blackstone, while former Hollywood child star, Baby Rose, is portrayed by Sophia Rose Morris. The sheriff’s daughter Dolores is played by Tyner Rushing with Caleb Haven Draper as her friend Gus. Peter, the budding communist, is portrayed by Jonathan Shue. Others in the cast are Isaiah Boyd, Zak Franczak, Ben Euphrat, Gabriel Stephens, Annie Donahey and Dirk Leatherman.

Babes in Arms

42nd Street Moon / San Francisco

Music by Richard Rodgers/Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Book by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Adapted by John Guare

December 1 – 19, 2010

Low-priced previews: Weds. Dec 1 at 7 pm/Thurs. & Fri. Dec. 2 & 3 at 8 pm
Opening: Sat. Dec. 4 at 6 pm
Performances through Dec. 19:
Weds. at 7 pm, Thurs. & Fri. at 8 pm, Sat. at 6 pm, Sun. at 3 pm

Tickets: $24 – $44
Venue: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco
Box Office: 415/255-8207 or

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  • Greg

    The Great Depression of the ’30s was not just an economic phenomenon. To avert a descent into an emotional abyss as well, the nation almost universally embraced the ebullience and optimism provided by the American musical. The gifted songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart were without peer in their uncanny ability to mitigate the despair with memorable melodies and clever lyrics destined to become popular classics.

    To capture the prevalent spirit of an ostensibly simpler time in a manner that rings true during an era where irony has supplanted sentiment would appear to be a tall order. As current events have revealed, however, history has a bad habit of repeating itself. And despite the veneer of 21st century cool, deep down people will always remain visceral creatures. The powers that be at 42nd Street Moon have never lost sight of this basic truth.

    That is why virtually all facets of this wonderful production succeed brilliantly. The cast is uniformly fine, with precise comic timing, superb vocal proficiency and inspired acting performances offered throughout. Most notable are Tyner Rushing (Delores), Sophia Rose Morris (Baby Rose) and Joshua James (Marshall), who inhabit their characters with such utter abandon that they’re truly a joy to behold.

    Direction, both acting and musical, is executed with a refreshing creative acuity. Staging and choreography for the relatively large ensemble are, in a word, outstanding. The intricate and delightful choreography composed for the two “Gus (Danny Gozart) and Delores” duets are just a sample of the many highlights. And the several choral numbers are delivered powerfully enough to evoke goose bumps!

    Notwithstanding the consummate skill on display, the musical is not without its shortcomings. Most unexpectedly, despite featuring tunes that have become sentimental standards, the political themes of the story almost eclipse the romantic. This is due, in part, to the lack of any perceptible chemistry between the two leads, Michael Scott Wells and Alexandra Kaprielian (Val and Billie).

    Moreover, Ms. Kaprielian’s performance, including her renditions of perennial favorites “My Funny Valentine” and “The Lady is a Tramp”, tended to emphasize the artifice of her meticulous technique over any heartfelt emotion. She’s arguably miscast. And one suspects she was intimidated by the generations of legendary singers who have covered the songs before her.

    Nitpicking aside, this is without a doubt one of the best and most entertaining revivals I’ve witnessed in a long time. I recommend, without reservation, that everyone march their way down forthwith to the Eureka Theatre and experience this little gem of family entertainment before it becomes history once again!