April 26, 2018

SOLD OUT! MSM’s Musical Theatre Program presents Smile

Now SOLD OUT: On April 26 and 27, for two performances only, the curtain will rise on Manhattan School of Music’s mainstage Musical Theatre Program production of Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman’s 1986 Broadway musical, Smile.

Conducted and music directed by Andrew Gerle and directed by Mikhael Tara Garver, Smile will be just the second mainstage production (after last fall’s Nine) of MSM’s pioneering Musical Theatre Program, which was inaugurated in September 2016.

The late composer Marvin Hamlisch was best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line, which debuted on Broadway in 1975 and ran for a record-setting 6,137 performances. Smile, based on the 1975 film of the same name, opened on Broadway in November 1986, while A Chorus Line was still going strong in the Shubert Theatre just one block south. Unlike its successful sibling, Smile succumbed to the fate of many a Broadway show, closing after just 48 performances.

A scene from MSM Musical Theatre's Fall 2017 mainstage production of Nine.

Just as A Chorus Line told the backstage story of Broadway hopefuls, Smile goes behind the scenes at a beauty contest, the fictitious Young American Miss Pageant, poking fun at stereotypes while bringing to the surface the hopes, dreams, ambitions, and disillusionments of the contestants.

Although Smile did not enjoy initial success, the musical has enjoyed a post-Broadway life. After it closed, Hamlisch and lyricist Howard Ashman revised Smile for regional, stock productions, adding new songs to the score, including “Very Best Week of Our Lives,” “Bob’s Song,” and “There Goes the Girl,” all of which will be performed in the upcoming MSM Musical Theatre production.

Smile is a wonderful musical for student performers, because it gives them a chance to embody a variety of characters,” said Luis Perez, Associate Dean and Chair of Musical Theatre at MSM. “Everyone in the cast has the opportunity to shine and to challenge themselves as actors, singers, and dancers while bringing to life what is a wonderful and underrated score by Hamlisch and Ashman.”

“Everyone in the cast has the opportunity to shine and to challenge themselves as actors, singers, and dancers while bringing to life what is a wonderful and underrated score by Hamlisch and Ashman.”

Established in 2016, Manhattan School of Music’s landmark Musical Theatre Program is the only stand-alone musical theatre conservatory degree program in New York City (and only the second in the country). Students in the program receive comprehensive training in voice, dance, acting, repertoire and history, and technical production from seasoned Broadway professionals.

Manhattan School of Music’s Musical Theatre Program will present two performances of Smile, starring a cast of talented MSM students, on Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. With MSM’s principal performance space, the historic Neidorff-Karpati Hall, currently undergoing a sweeping renovation, Smile will take place at The Theatre at The Riverside Church (91 Claremont Avenue).

A scene from MSM Musical Theatre's Fall 2017 mainstage production of Nine.