Jodi Benson and Original Cast Reunited for Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman’s “SMILE” Concert

New York, NY — “SMILE : A Broadway Reunion,” featured songs from Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman’s 1986 musical Smile, presented at 54 Below on Sept. 22nd, 2014

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This presentation was directed by Richard Biever with musical direction by Roberto Sinha; produced by Jennifer Ashley Tepper. The concerts featured original Broadway cast members Mana Allen, Jodi Benson, Anne Bobby, Susan Dow, Linda Hess van Kesteren, Lauren Kosarin, Andrea Leigh-Smith, Nikki Rene, Tia Riebling and Cheryl-Ann Rossi, who were joined by Lewis Cleale, Sally Wilfert, Megan Kane, Caitlin Kinnunen, Molly Model, and Monet Julia Sabel.

SMILE - Broadway Production

SMILE — Broadway Production

smile reunion at 54below

Musical SMILE — Cast reunion concert. New York, 2014




The SMILE reunion concert”

Monday, it was especially poignant to see the original cast, twenty-eight years later.  Jodi Benson welcomed the crowd to “Menopause, the Musical,” but in truth, what you saw was a group of terrifically talented women on stage celebrating the past without trying to relive it.  It was like Smile with a totally happy ending.  And I was interested to see that the original cast of Smile had gone the way many of the show’s fictional characters probably did – some have stayed in the business, some have moved on to very different worlds, some have remained New Yorkers, many have not.  And in a lovely piece of serendipity, Mana Allen’s (Miss El Centro) daughter, an actual “typical High School senior,” was onstage with her mom, singing in the chorus

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Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch

Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch

SMILE, with music by Hamlisch and book and lyrics by Ashman, is a satirical portrait that “follows the intrigue and exploits onstage and behind-the-scenes as Santa Rosa, California plays host to the Young American Miss Pageant”

Songs from the Hamlisch-Ashman score included “Disneyland,” “Smile,” “In Our Hands,” “Very Best Week of Your Lives” and “Dear Mom.”

MUSICAL SMILE: Smile opened Nov. 24, 1986, at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with a cast that featured Jodi Benson, Veanne Cox, Anne Marie Bobby, Marsha Waterbury and Jeff McCarthy; it played 48 performances.

SMILE - Bedford, NY 2014

SMILE — Bedford, NY 2014



Source: Team Marvin Hamlisch / The Music of Marvin Hamlisch