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Go ask George.

NEW YORK CITY: George S. Irving turned 84 last November, and he could tell you a thing or two about the history of American musical theatre, from Vivien Leigh's practical jokes with a DYMO labeler behind the scenes of the 1963 musical Tovarich, to what it was like to be part of the original 1943 cast of Oklahoma! He's graced Broadway in more than 30 plays and musicals, ranging from the widely remembered (Can-Can, Irma La Douce) to the stuff of musical-theatre-buff trivia.

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This month Musicals Tonight!--Mel Miller's series of concert stagings of obscure shows--wraps up a tribute season of five plays that have all figured into Irving's career. Irving himself took the stage last month in The Happy Time, as the father of the character he played back in 1968 opposite Robert Goulet. Initially the veteran hoped to appear in its follow-up, Ernest in Love--and, more tantalizingly still, to reprise the role for which he won his Tony, that of the flamboyant designer in Irene, in the production set to play the McGinn/Cazale Theatre April 17-29. There were concerns, however, that the grueling rehearsal schedule might exhaust the actor. Miller to Irving: "George, we want to salute you, not kill you!"

In the end, schedule conflicts deteremined that some greener actor, not cast at press time, will have to do the honors. Irving has promised to teach the young lad a bit of comic stage business with a sexy model and a bolt of cloth, which he himself learned from a crusty old vaudevillian back in the day, but which didn't make it to the Broadway stage. Visit www.musicalstonight.org.

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Title Annotation:NEWS IN BRIEF; Mel Miller's concert series in tribute to George S. Irving
Publication:American Theatre
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:276
Previous Article:A Long Long career.
Next Article:The Living Theatre lives again.
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