Bayou City Concert Musicals will present the Houston premiere of the classic musical, One Touch of Venus, for five performances at the Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, September 6-9, 2012. The Thursday performance (9-6) will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Friday (9-7) and Saturday (9-8) performances beginning at 8:00 p.m. There will be two performances on Sunday (9-9), a matinee at 2:00 p.m. and an evening performance at 7:30 p.m.
One Touch of Venus premiered on Broadway on October 7, 1943, and ran for 567 performances. It features music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash, and book by Nash and S. J. Perelman, based on the novella “The Tinted Venus” by Thomas Ansley Guthrie. When the show opened in New York in 1943, the New York World Telegram raved that “Weill’s music is the loveliest this side of heaven.” TheNew York Post called it “adult, professional, comic and genuinely musical…unusually fine.”
One Touch of Venus was made into a 1948 film starring Ava Garner and RoBert Walker. BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope says the film bore little resemblance to the Broadway show. “The only song that survived,” said Hope, “was Speak Low and Ava Gardner was dubbed.”
The less-than-well received movie dampened interest in reviving the musical for many years until New York’s City Center Encores presented its concert staging in 1996. A London-based version of One Touch of Venus was tentatively scheduled for Broadway in 2001, but producers cancelled their plans after the September 11 terrorist attack on New York City.
One Touch of Venus tells the tale of Whitelaw Savory, a rich art connoisseur, who brings the statue of Venus of Anatolia to his private museum in New York only to have the statue come to life and disappear with Rodney, the barber. The show follows Savory’s search for this prized statue as well as the love story between Venus and Rodney.
The BCCM production will feature Danica Dawn Johnston in the role of Venus, the legendary statue that comes to life when kissed by a barber. Rob Flebbe will play Rodney, the barber. Joe Kirkendall will make his BCCM debut as Whitelaw Savory. Savory’s secretary Molly Will be played by Grace Givens. Susan Draper, Susan O. Koozin and Jim Salners round out the supporting cast. Artistic Director Paul Hope will direct the production, with musical director Michael Mertz, conductor Dominique Røyem, and choreographer Melissa Pritchett.
One Touch of Venus tickets are available by phone at 713-465-6484 or on-line at www.bayoucityconcertmusicals.org. Single ticket prices range from $50 to $25.
Proceeds from Bayou City Concert Musicals’ production of One Touch of Venus will benefit the Tim Harris Memorial Fund, which supports local musicians who have suffered catastrophic illness or injury.
Bayou City Concert Musicals is funded in part by grants from the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.