Make Someone Happy: The Songs of Comden and Green, opening March 2, is the latest Quality Hill Playhouse revue in a season dedicated to great artistic partnerships. Particularly known for their comedic skills, Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote lively songs, librettos and screenplays that were praised by critics as “bright, gay, witty and engaging” (The New York Post) and “extraordinarily inventive” (The New York Times). Director and arranger J. Kent Barnhart has assembled a cast of hilarious and talented singing actors – Lauren Braton, Molly Hammer and Cary Mock – to bring to life the humor, energy and joy of the best songs from the duo’s six-decade long partnership, including “Just In Time,” “One Hundred Easy Ways,” “I Can Cook Too,” “New York, New York (It’s a Helluva Town),” the revue’s title song “Make Someone Happy” and more.
Make Someone Happy runs through April 1 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, Mo. For tickets, call 816-421-1700. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit www.QualityHillPlayhouse.com. Quality Hill Playhouse is one of the six arts organizations that has had additional coverage as part of the inaugural season of performARTS.
Season tickets for Two For the Show: Great Partnerships of Stage and Song are still available. Pro-rate subscriptions for all three remaining productions are $75 and include Make Someone Happy, Life Is a Cabaret: The Songs of Kander and Ebb (April 20 – May 20), and Pete ’n’ Keely, a hilarious off-Broadway musical spoof reminiscent of The Carol Burnett Show (June 1 – July 1).
About Comden and Green
Aspiring actors Betty Comden and Adolph Green were introduced by mutual friends in 1938, and soon thereafter they formed a comedy troupe called The Revuers which played in Greenwich Village and included then-unknowns Judy Holliday and Leonard Bernstein. In 1944 they collaborated with Bernstein and fellow Broadway newcomer Jerome Robbins on their Broadway debut On the Town, for which they wrote the book and lyrics. Being smart as well as funny, they slyly created featured roles for themselves, thus making their Broadway debut as actors as well as writers. Their decades of success on Broadway includes Wonderful Town (lyricists, also with Bernstein), multiple collaborations with composer Jule Styne (Bells Are Ringing, Two on the Aisle, Do Re Mi), and a dozen Tony Award nominations, including seven wins. In Hollywood they worked as part of MGM’s famed “Freed Unit,” writing screenplays for Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, The Barkleys of Broadway and a re-tooled version of On the Town, minus the majority of Bernstein’s score.
About the Performers
Lauren Braton is “among the best singing actors in town” according to The Kansas City Star. In addition to her “dazzling” cabaret performances at QHP (The Pitch), she has appeared on nearly every local stage (Starlight, KC Rep, American Heartland, Unicorn). www.laurenbraton.net.
Molly Hammer has rapidly become a Playhouse audience favorite, following stand-out performances in Closer Than Ever andLullaby of 42nd Street. A versatile performer, Molly will return to the Playhouse this summer for Pete ’n’ Keely and a special engagement of her cabaret show Back on Base. www.mollyhammer.com.
Cary Mock returns to the Playhouse directly from a run in Billy Bishop Goes to War with Kansas City Actors’ Theatre. Last season he appeared at QHP in Christmas in Song and the Cole Porter revue, Let’s Do It. Additional theatre credits include Musical Theater Heritage, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and Jewish Community Center. www.stagetostage.net.
J. Kent Barnhart has served as Executive Director of Quality Hill Productions since he founded the nonprofit theatre in 1995. Throughout his career, he has worked as pianist, musical director, stage director and/or producer for over 100 musicals, plays and cabaret revues.
Photo by Larry Levenson