Press Archives: 1983 Raggedy Ann and Andy at ESIPA


The Press and Post - Egg Subscription Series Opens with Orson Bean

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"...For the holiday season, December 10-20, the company will stage the world premiere of a new musical based on Raggedy Ann and Andy to music by Joe Raposo and score by Tim Mason, with guest director Bill Gile..."


Schenectady Gazette - ‘Mayor!’ May Be Turning Point In ESIPA Development Effort


Google Newspapers link, page 49


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So far, ESIPA’s play development efforts have been last season's showcase production of Katherine Rao's “Calamity Jane" and staged readings of two other new plays: “Goodly Creatures" by Willam Gibson and Jack Gilhooley's “Shirley Basin." “Raggedy Ann and Andy," a new musical by Joe Raposo and Tim Mason based on the popular children's books, will be the institute's fully-staged holiday production in December. More staged readings are planned as part of the 1983-84 season.

Essential to development of new material, Snyder emphasized, is dealing with each play in terms of lts readiness for the stage. Whereas “Hizzoner– The Mayor!” came to ESIPA as "a pretty well-worked” script in need of the interaction from the actor who would do the one-man show. “Raggedy Ann and Andy" is a large collaborative effort in an entirely different format.

Snyder sees the Raposo-Mason musical as a two-year project. It came about, she explained, because “I was touched by the music that Raposo wrote for the animated movie. It will take quite awhile to develop the themes of the musical and work it into a show with a cast of 40."

Anticipating that “Raggedy Ann and Andy" will have a second exposure during ESIPA’s 1984-85 season, she said the musical hopefully will be done “two or three times" before it leaves Albany.


Schenectady Gazette


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"...On Friday the following classes will visit the Egg in Albany to see the play, “Raggedy Ann,” the kindergarten sections of Connie Guthinger, the first grades of Rose McLean and Connie Martin, Virginia Kichton’s second grade, Barbara Hamilton's second third, and the fourth grades of Peg Pindar and Sandy Kozak."


Schenectady Gazette


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"...Mrs Anita Mott's first grade and Sandi Slingerland’s second grade will go to see 'Raggedy Ann and Andy' at the Empire State Plaza today."


Schenectady Gazette - ESIPA in World Premiere of ‘Raggedy Ann and Andy’


Google Newspapers link, page 20


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Ivy Austin and Mark Baker play the title roles in “Raggedy Ann and Andy, A Musical," which will have its world premiere at the Egg in Albany. With music and lyrics by Joe Raposo and book by Timothy Mason, the show is directed and choreographed by Birch and produced by Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts.

In its most ambitious undertaking yet, Empire Institute for the Performing Arts will offer as its holiday show the world premiere of a musical featuring two favorite storybook characters and their colorful friends.

“Raggedy Ann and Andy, A Musical,” based on the stories of Johnny Gruelle, brings together the award-winning talents of composer-lyricist Joe Raposo, playwright Timothy Mason and director-choreographer Patricia Birch.

This production has aerial choreography by Peter Foy, a cast of 40 and a large creative team collaborating on sets, costumes. lighting, orchestrations and choreography. The ESIPA resident professional company has been augmented by singers and dancers chosen through auditions in New York City and this area.

Featured in the title roles are Ivy Austin, who comes to Albany from New York City Opera productions of “Candide” and “The Merry Widow," and Mark Baker, who also has been closely involved with Bernstein’s “Candide.” He created the title role in the 1973 Chelsea Theater Center revival on Broadway, for which he won the Theater world Award and a Tony nomination.

After preview performances starting Thursday morning, the official opening will take place Friday, Dec 16, at 8 pm. Performances will continue through Dec 21.

"With Raggedy Ann and Andy,” said Producing Director Patricia B. Snyder, "we are following our custom of offering a holiday show for the whole family and at the same time we are continuing our commitment to the development of new works for the theater.”

She emphasized that "although this will be a fully staged production, it is still a work in progress. There will be further development of the show based on this first run.” Mrs Snyder sees “Raggedy Ann" as a two-year project. She anticipates a second run during the 1984-85 season and possibly even a third exposure before the musical leaves Albany.

Inspiration for the new stage musical came from a movie. Raposo’s score for 20th Century Fox’s 1977 animated film "Raggedy Ann and Andy” (which Variety called “the best musical score to come out of Hollywood this year") so impressed Snyder that she urged him to adapt it for the stage.

The result, though, is not a direct translation from the screen. Although the characters are the same, Mason's story is completely new. And as the new story progressed, it was decided that new music was needed– so much of it that now only four songs have been kept from the film.

Raposo’s credits as composer, lyricist and music director include “You’re a Good Man. Charlie Brown," “Half a Sixpence,” Play It Again, Sam” and "House of Flowers" for the stage. "Sesame Street," “The Electric Company," "Julie Andrews and Bill Bixby” and numerous specials for television, and film scores for “The Great Muppet Caper,” “Big Mo” and "Savages." His work has earned him an Oscar nomination, several Emmy awards and nominations and four Grammy awards.

Mason has been a playwright, lyricist, journalist and actor in London and Now York. In addition, he has worked closely with Minneapolis Children's Theater, which has produced several of his 20 original plays as well as his adaptations of classics. He has won the Margo Jones Award from the American Theater Critics Association and awards from the Twin Cities Drama Critics Circle, Minnesota State Arts Forum, National Endowment for the Arts and National Society of Arts and Letters.

Birch supervised ESIPA's production of “The All-time Good-Time Knickerbocker Follies,” has choreographed extensively on Broadway, and directed the films “Angel” and “Grease II” and stage plays “Happy End” and “Really Rosie”. Her choreography has won two Drama Desk awards and two Tony nominations.

Scenery and costumes are by Marsha Louis Eck, who designed the PBS teleplay “Paul’s Case,” “Manon” and “Lucia di Lammermoor” for New York City Opera, and more than 20 productions for Circle in the Square. For ESIPA she has designed sets for “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Wizard of Oz” and sets and costumes for “Pinocchio” and “Cinderella.”

Lighting designer Richard Winkler has designed many productions on and off Broadway. He has designed also for Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Goodspeed Opera and Folger Theater Group.

Music supervision and dance arrangements are by Louis St. Louis, music director of Broadway’s “Grease,” who wrote the music for “Sugar Hill.”

Music director and conductor Ross Allen has conducted for Broadway and regional productions. He conducted the national tours of “Barnum” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

Composers and arrangers working on the orchestrations for “Raggedy Ann and Andy” are Stan Applebaum, David Berger, Michael Gibson, Philip J. Lang, Maury Laws, Jim Tyler and Raposo.

Associate choreographer Don Correia received the Astaire Award last year for his work in the Broadway revival of “Little Me.” ESIPA’s chief choreographer Adrienne Posner is serving as assistant to director-choreographer Birch and the company's music director George Harris is assisting Raposo.

Tickets for performances Friday and Saturday, Dec 16 and 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. are available from the ESIPA box office and Community Box Offices. They are $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $for for children.


Schenectady Gazette - Raposo Slates Egg Tryout Of ‘Raggedy Ann and Andy’


Google Newspapers link, page 27


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When his teenage friends were waiting on tables at summer camps, Joe Raposo was conducting the pit orchestra in a summer stock theater near Boston. When many of his Harvard classmates were searching for work after graduation in 1958, he was executive music director for the three biggest music tents in the greater Boston area.

His father was an instructor at the Boston Conservatory of Music, his mother, a musician all her life. Yet despite all this background and experience, Joe Raposo intended to go to law school after getting his degree in history and government from the prestigious New England college. lf he had, millions of kids would have been deprived of one of the best experiences of their childhood.

For Joe Raposo is one of the creators of the award-winning children's show “Sesame Street” and the composer of its theme song. He also originated PBS’s “The Electric Company" and for six years headed the Children’s Television Workshop.

Fortunately for all the children who have learned their ABCs and a lot more watching Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and all their friends, Joe Raposo never made it to law school. Fortunately, too, for the people of the Capital District, the talented Raposo has elected to return to his first love, the theater, after years spent in television and the recording industry.

Raposo has written the score for "Raggedy Ann and Andy", the new musical which the Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts will open at the Egg in Empire State Plaza on Friday night for six performances, following a week of previews.

Over breakfast at his Albany hotel recently, the man who wrote the scores for "You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown" and “Half A Sixpence,” and who has won several Emmy Awards for “Sesame Street” songs, was bright and cheerful. This despite the fact that he had just rewritten the end of "Raggedy Ann’s” first act and had yet to add lyrics to the finale song.

“This is a great company.” he said “I’m impressed with the (ESIPA resident) organization's efficiency and the sheer kindness of everybody in this place. lt’s the optimum creative atmosphere with all the physical accoutrements. And the people are all so eager to learn.”

This is high praise from an individual who has been resident composer at the Loeb Drama Center at Harvard, music director of Boston’s Charles Playhouse and the Theater Company of Boston, who has taught at the Boston Conservatory of Music and who has been honored for theater, television and film work.

The current “Raggedy Ann,” although based on an animated film musical that Raposo did in 1977 for 20th Century Fox about the rag doll characters, has an all-new script by playwright Timothy Mason. Mason has had a number of children's plays produced by the Minneapolis Children's Theater and his newest work, an adult play called "Levitation," is about to receive a New York premiere by Circle Repertory Company.

Raposo was ruefully realistic about the fate of his filmed “Raggedy Ann” which opened to rave reviews. "Unfortunately, another 20th Century Fox film, which no one expected anything of, opened to good reviews the same week." Raposo smiled "lt was called ‘Star Wars.’ I don't have to tell you what happened, do I? There are 600 prints of "Raggedy Ann” buried in a vault somewhere.”

But ESIPA Producing Director Patricia Snyder saw it on Home Box Office a couple of years ago and asked him to rewrite it for her Albany company, which is how its current incarnation came about.

Raposo, who has just returned to the "Sesame Street" staff as music supervisor after a prolonged absence, says he finds ESIPA the perfect place to try out shows he hopes to bring to Broadway. “New shows will have to come out of the regional theater,” he says. “How else can you do it when it costs $4.5 million just to turn the lights on in a New York theater?

“I've just written a musical score with Sheldon Harnick (of "Fiddler on the Roof” fame) based on the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." We need five million to gel it open.” Raposo went on incredulously. “Can you imagine? Five million dollars for people to dance around to music?”

“But,” he says, "a place like you have here in Albany, in terms of atmosphere, discipline and convenience could be just the sort of life-support system the Broadway stage needs. There are capable people here, the facilities are wonderful. For whatever reasons New York State is subsidizing it, that's good.

“We've brought five people in from New York to supplement the resident company (including actor/choreographer Don Correia, who appeared in ‘A Chorus Line’. Ivy Austin of ‘Sesame Street,’ ‘Candide’ and the film ‘Grease II’ and Mark Baker also of ‘Candide’ and ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’). If we do other shows, we’ll be elevating the level of the company with the pick of the best New York actors.”

“The New York theater world is beginning to be aware of this company. Based on my experience here, lf the Egg doesn’t become the home of premier musical development in this country, I’ll be surprised.”

“Raggedy Ann and Andy” will have public performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and Monday through Wednesday. Dec 19-21 at 10 a.m. at the Main Theater of the Egg at Empire State Plaza in Albany.


Schenectady Gazette - Caryl Ginsburg Wins Players’ Scholarship


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Caryl M. Ginsburg, an M.A. student ln theater at New York University, has won a $750 Slingerlands Players' theater scholarship toward her educational expenses.

Ginsburg, a graduate of Troy High School, received a B.A. ln music from Oswego State College while minoring in theater. The 24- year old student, who hopes to pursue a career in children's theater, interned at Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts in 1983.

During her internship, she worked on the production of the new musical “Raggedy Ann and Andy. She was pianist for the show and assistant to conductor Ross Allen and musical supervisor Louis St. Louis.

She currently teaches at the Walden School Discovery Program, a musical theater program for children in New York City.

The Slingerlands scholarship, established last year, is for a full-time theater student from Albany, Schenectady or Rensselaer counties who demonstrates promise and financial need.


Theatre Profiles, Volume 7


Google Books link, page 144

Raggedy Ann and Andy
book: Timothy Mason; music and lyrics: Joe Raposo
director: Patricia Birch
sets: Marsha Louis Eck
costumes: Marsha Louis Eck
lighting: Richard Winkler


Raggedy Ann and Johnny Gruelle: A Bibliography of Published Works


Google Books link, page 180

Raggedy Ann & Andy (1981). Dramatic script based on book by Timothy Mason. New York: The Dramatic Publishing Company. Based on 1976 screenplay. Revised as a muiscal, with songs by Joe Raposo, and presented at the Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts, (Albany, NY) in 1983.