'George M,' the Musical About George M. Cohan, Opens at Westchester Broadway Theatre Thursday

That George M. Cohan was born on the Fourth of July has been disputed but there is no question about his genius as composer, lyricist, writer, producer and performer.

The life of show business legend George Michael Cohan (called "The Man Who Owned Broadway") is depicted in the revival of George M debuting on June 7 at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, a dinner/theater in Elmsford. The original version of the musical, starred Joel Grey as George M. Cohan and Bernadette Peters; it opened on Broadway in 1968 and ran for 433 performances.

Among Cohan's most memorable songs are Yankee Doodle Dandy, Over There, You're A Grand Old Flag, Give My Regards to Broadway, Mary, Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway, So Long Mary, I'd Rather be Right and Harrigan.

In the Westchester Broadway Theatre production, John Scherer plays George M. Cohan. Scherer recently appeared on Broadway in Lovenmusik and in the Broadway and film versions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's By Jeeves.

Young Westchester County talent in cast

The cast includes two Westchester County youngsters: nine-year-old Victoria Dennis, a student at West Patent Elementary in Mount Kisco, and ten-year-old Gabriella Palminteri who lives in Bedford and attends Bedford Village Elementary School.

Also included are Melodie Wolford, a native of Putnam Valley in Putnam County and a teacher at the Peekskill Movement Center who plays George's mother Nellie, and Colin Pritchard of Harrison.

The two-act play follows the career of George Michael Cohan as composer, writer, lyricist, singer, dancer and producer over a 50-plus-year period starting in the late 1880s and ending in 1937. He was born in 1878 on or about July 4, joined the family vaudeville act at the age of nine, and died in 1942.

Jim Walton appears as George's father Jerry and Amanda Trusty portrays his sister Josie. George's first wife Ethel, is played by Laura Schutter and Jeanette Minson plays Agnes who becomes George's second wife.

Katharine Heaton appears as Fay Templeton, Gary Lynch plays Sam Harris, and Carol Schuberg plays Ma Templeton/Grimaldi. The cast also includes Erin Burniston, Rob Gibbs, Glenn Giron, Drew King, Jonathan Stahl and Karen Webb.

The production is directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford. The musical director is Leo Carusone, the associate director/choreographer is Jonathan Stahl, the set designer is John Farrell, the set coordinator is Steve Loftus, and the lighting designer is Andrew Gmoser.

The crew also includes sound designer Jonathan Hatton, costume designer Leon Dobkowski, production stage manager Victor Lukas and assistant stage manager Ron Rogell. Properties are supplied by Grumpy’s Props.

Ticket prices (cost includes dinner and show) range from $52 to $75 plus tax depending on performance dates and times. Beverages and gratuities are additional.

Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. Check www.BroadwayTheatreBlog.com for discount details and other information. Discounts are also available for groups of 20 or more: call 914-592-2225.

Performance information

Wednesday and Thursday matinee: lunch: 11:30 a.m. and show: 1 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday evening: dinner: 6:30 p.m. and show: 8 p.m.
Sunday matinee: lunch: noon and show: 1:30 p.m.
Sunday evening: dinner: 5:30 p.m. and show: 7 p.m.
Performance dates: June 7 through July 1, 2012

Reservations: Call 914-592-2222. Reservations can also be made at:  www.BroadwayTheatre.com 

The theater can accommodate 500 people for a dinner and show (including up to 80 in the luxury boxes).

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


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