Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote big, important musicals, like Oklahoma and South Pacific, but before Hammerstein there was Lorenz Hart, and Rodgers and Hart wrote some of Broadway’s freshest, wittiest, most irreverent and enduring musicals.
Among the most memorable was Babes in Arms, which opened on Broadway in 1937. Now Back on Broadway Restaurant is collaborating with Ruskin Group Theatre on a new production of the Rodgers and Hart gem. It will open on September 15 and run through October 9 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse.
In 1939, the original book and score were adapted and augmented for a movie version that starred Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, and there have been any number of stage revivals – on and off-Broadway.
For this newest incarnation of Babes, the book and orchestrations have been updated and adapted for the Miles stage by director Andy Belling. In it, a group of youngsters at a music camp during the last summer of World War II put on an original show to save their theater from being repossessed by the bank. With state-of-the-art lighting, new orchestrations and a stylized approach, this version is meant to be an affectionate tribute to the Rodgers and Hart classic.
“This is an exciting opportunity to bring to life a new version of a chestnut that holds significant meaning to me,” said Fred Deni, Back on Broadway owner and producer of the show. “I’ve done four productions of ‘Babes in Arms,’ including one on Broadway. It’s a wonderful play with great music, and this production will give it exposure to new audiences.”Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $45, with about half the proceeds going to various charities. For tickets and information, call (310) 397-3244 or go to http://www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.