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'Can-Can' at Westchester Broadway Theatre

Songs in this revival of the 1953 Broadway hit include "I Love Paris" and "C'est Magnifique."

Cole Porter's 59-year-old play Can-Can opens at the Westchester Broadway Theatre on August 30. In this play, La Môme Pistache, the female owner of the only café where young ladies dare to perform the scandalous Can-Can dance, is pitted against Aristide Forestier, a self-righteous judge, determined to close all of the Parisian dance halls.

The premise for the play is based on fact: the Can-Can, first danced circa 1822, was considered immoral for many years in France and its prohibition by law was enforced by police.

The musical will be performed at the Elmsford theater through October 12, 2012. Ticket prices range from $52 to $80 plus tax and tip and include meal (lunch or dinner) and admission.

Following its opening at the Shubert Theater onBroadway in 1953, Can-Can ran for more than two years (892 performances). Gwen Verdon and choreographer Michael Kidd won Tony Awards. (In addition, a West End production ran for 394 performances beginning in 1954.)

The play was remade into a film in 1960 starring Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier and Juliet Prowse.

Songs include "I Love Paris," "It's All Right With Me," "C'est Magnifique" and "I Am in Love."

Why Can-Can?

WBT Co-Founder Bill Stutler provides several reasons for the theater's decision to revive Can-Can.

"Abe Burrows wrote a very funny book for Can-Can, and Cole Porter a great score," he said, "and we wanted to do a great dancing show during 2012. Richard Stafford (the director/choreographer) and Jonathan Stahl are terrific choreographers and we knew they would give our audience spectacular dancing."

"This show has been overlooked by many," Stutler pointed out, "and it hasn't been performed by anyone in a long time. We produced it back in 1976 with talented Rita Rudner (of comedy fame), playing and dancing the role of Claudine."

"Can-Can is really funny," said Stutler. "The role of Boris is real comic relief and we're fortunate to have Patrick Ridgewood in that role."

Ridgewood appeared in the WBT production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood before heading to Hollywood where he was cast in several movies directed by Garry Marshall and played the night-time elevator operator in Marshall's 1990 film Pretty Woman, staring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

"Glad he's back," said Stutler. "He had us all on the floor laughing so hard during rehearsals." Ridgewood plays a sculptor named Boris.

Meet the cast and crew

Glory Crampton plays Pistache, Tony Lawson appears as Aristide, Lauralyn McClelland plays Claudine, and Patrick Richwood is Boris. The cast also includes Charles West as Hilaire and William McCauley as Paul. Hercule is played by Michael Linden, Etienne by Joshua Phan-Gruber and Todd MacIntyre by Theophile.

The Can-Can ensemble includes Bjorn Bolinder, Karolina Blonski, Courtney Chilton, Laura Elizabeth Henning, Chloe Hurst, Darrell T. Joe, Peter Marinos, Kaitlin Niewoehner, Elliot Reiland, Tim Roller and Marguerite Willbanks.

The production is directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford. Jonathan Stahl is associate director/associate choreographer. Key staff members include musical director Craig Barna, set designer John Farrell, set coordinator Steve Loftus, lighting designer Andrew Gmoser, sound designer Jonathan Hatton, costume designer Loren Shaw, production stage manager Victor Lukas and assistant stage manager Ron Rogell. Lisa Tiso is the associate producer. Properties are provided by Grumpy’s Props.

Performances are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday and Thursday matinees. Lunch at 11:30 a.m. and show at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees. Lunch at noon and show at 1:30 p.m. Sunday evenings. Dinner at 5:30 p.m. and show at 7 p.m. (The curtain rises 1 hour and 30 minutes after meal service begins.)

Dinner-including-show inclusive prices range from $52 to $80 plus tax and tip depending on the performance. Cocktail cost is not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. The theater can seat up to 500 people for a show (including up to 80 in luxury boxes). Contact the theater at 914-592-8730 for luxury box service and cost information.

For reservations, call 914-592-2222. Reservations can also be made at www.BroadwayTheatre.com.

Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plaza (175 Clearbrook Road), Elmsford. Box office:(914) 592-2222.

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