Baby (musical)

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Baby
BabyPoster.jpg
Original Broadway poster
Music David Shire
Lyrics Richard Maltby, Jr.
Book Sybille Pearson
Productions 1983 Broadway
2004 Manila
2011 Brazil

Baby is a musical with a book by Sybille Pearson, based on a story developed with Susan Yankowitz, music by David Shire, and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.. It concerns the reactions of three couples each expecting a child. The musical first ran on Broadway from 1983 to 1984.

Synopsis[edit]

Three couples, each newly expecting a child, have different but familiar reactions. Lizzie and Danny are university juniors who have just moved in together. Athletic Pam and her husband, Nick, a sports instructor, have had some trouble conceiving. Arlene, already the mother of three grown daughters, is unsure of what to do, contemplating abortion while her husband Alan is thrilled with the thought of a new baby. Throughout the show, these characters experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, the desperate lows and the comic highs, that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby.

Musical numbers[edit]

"Baby, Baby, Baby (Reprise)" was replaced in the initial run and the original cast recording with the song "Patterns," wherein Arlene contemplates her circular life as mother and wife.

"The End of Summer" was written for the Paper Mill Playhouse production, and is now part of the newly revised score available for licensing.

"With You" and "And What If We Had Loved Like That" are in reverse order in the new libretto.

Productions[edit]

The Broadway production, directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. and choreographed by Wayne Cilento, opened on December 4, 1983 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran for 241 performances and 35 previews. The cast included Liz Callaway as Lizzie Fields, Beth Fowler as Arlene McNally, Todd Graff as Danny Hooper, Catherine Cox as Pam Sakarian, James Congdon as Alan McNally, and Martin Vidnovic as Nick Sakarian. Set design was by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jennifer von Mayrhauser, and lighting design by Pat Collins.

The Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, New Jersey presented an updated version of the musical from March 31, 2004 to May 9, 2004. The cast featured Carolee Carmello (Arlene), Chad Kimball (Danny), LaChanze (Pam), Norm Lewis (Nick), Moeisha McGill (Liz), and Michael Rupert (Alan).[1]

The Ohio premiere of Baby was the first production to use the new and updated score which was finalized for this production. It also contained an updated script with more modern references. The show ran March 2010 at TrueNorth Cultural Arts, Sheffield Village, Ohio.[2] The cast was headed by Natalie Green (Lizzie), Shane Joseph Siniscalchi (Danny), Michael Dempsey (Alan), Bernadette Hisey (Arlene), David Robeano (Nick) and Maggie Stahl-Floriano (Pam) under the direction of Fred Sternfeld.[3] The production won ten Cleveland Times Tribute Awards for Outstanding Theatre in 2010.[4]

International

Baby was staged at the Meralco Theatre in Manila from August 18 through September 5, 2004. The cast included Lea Salonga in the role of Lizzie Fields and David Shannon as Danny.[5]

A Brazilian production opened on May 15, 2011.,[6] starring Tadeu Aguiar,[7] Sylvia Massari, Olavo Cavalheiro, Sabrina Korgut, André Dias and Amanda Acosta.

Response[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Frank Rich, theatre critic for The New York Times wrote, "At a time when nearly every Broadway musical, good and bad, aims for the big kill with gargantuan pyrotechnics, here is a modestly scaled entertainment that woos us with such basic commodities as warm feelings, an exuberant cast and a lovely score. Perfect Baby is not, but it often makes up in buoyancy and charm what it lacks in forceful forward drive... Sybille Pearson has chosen her characters as if she were a pollster in search of a statistical cross-section of modern (and uniformly model) parents. Worse, this writer... values hit-and-miss one-liners over substance... Miss Pearson is also fond of such plot contrivances as mixed-up lab reports, and, in Act II, the story runs out altogether. The last trimester for the mothers in Baby is as much of a waiting game as it can be in real life. Yet David Shire, the composer, and Richard Maltby Jr., the lyricist, rush to the book's rescue by addressing the show's concerns with both humor and intelligence... To keep up with the varied ages of the characters, Mr. Shire writes with sophistication over a range that embraces rock, jazz and the best of Broadway schmaltz... Mr. Maltby's lyrics are not just smart and funny, but often ingenious." He concluded, "If the virtues of Baby can't override all its hitches, so be it. In achievement, this show is a throwback to the early 1960s - the last era when Broadway regularly produced some casual-spirited musicals that were not instantly categorizable as blockbusters or fiascos. Those musicals - like, say, Do Re Mi or 110 in the Shade - weren't built for the ages but could brighten a theater season or two: They were ingratiatingly professional, had both lulls and peaks, and inspired you to run to the record store as soon as the original cast album came out. So it is with Baby, and wouldn't it be cheering if such a show could find a home on the do-or-die Broadway of today?"[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1984 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Sybille Pearson Nominated
Best Original Score David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr. Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Todd Graff Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Liz Callaway Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Richard Maltby, Jr. Nominated
Best Choreography Wayne Cilento Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Martin Vidnovic Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Catherine Cox Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Jonathan Tunick Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Richard Maltby, Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Music David Shire Nominated
Theatre World Award Todd Graff Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keill, Liz."A CurtainUp Review:'Baby'", CurtainUp.com, April 4, 2004
  2. ^ Gans, Andrew."TrueNorth Cultural Arts to Present Updated Version of Baby; Casting Announced" Playbill.com, January 29, 2010
  3. ^ "TrueNorth Announces Cast for Updated Version of Maltby and Shire's 'Baby', Opens 3/5" BroadwayWorld.com, January 29, 2010
  4. ^ "'Baby" listing, credits and awards" FredSternfeld.com, accessed August 25, 2011
  5. ^ "West End Star Joins Lea Salonga In 'Baby' At Meralco Theater" newsflash.org (Philippine Headline News Online), June 16, 2004
  6. ^ "'Baby' Listing" babyomusical.com,br, accessed August 25, 2011
  7. ^ Tadeu Aguiar - Baby (musical) - Brazil january/2012.
  8. ^ Rich, Frank."Stage: 'Baby,' A Musical Exploring Parenthood,The New York Times, December 5, 1983

External links[edit]