Encores! kicks off its 2020 season on February 19 with a revival of Mack and Mabel. The production will be directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes and star Tony nominee Douglas Sills as the genius filmmaker Mack Sennett and Alexandra Socha as his muse, star, and great discovery Mabel Normand. It’s a show that is rarely produced (it’s never been revived on Broadway!) but one to definitely get excited about. If you don’t know Mack and Mabel, here’s a bit about the show and three songs you can fall in love with before the New York City Center revival.
Mack and Mabel reunited the Hello, Dolly! team of producer David Merrick, librettist Michael Stewart, composer & lyricist Jerry Herman, and director/choreographer Gower Champion. The show debuted on Broadway in October of 1974, closed one month later, and has never been revived. And though it only ran 66 performances, Mack and Mabel received eight 1975 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and nominations for each of its stars. The original cast was led by 56-year-old Tony winner Robert Preston of The Music Man fame in his final Broadway musical and 26-year-old Bernadette Peters, hot off her first Tony nomination for On the Town. The score by the legendary Jerry Herman (Mame, La Cage, Hello, Dolly!) is filled with musical theatre gems. Here are a few of our favorites.
“Look What Happened to Mabel”
It’s Mabel’s first big song in the show, and it’s everything. (We have a dedicated post just for this moment.) It also gives you her whole character’s backstory. Here’s the show’s original, Olivier-nominated West End star, Caroline O’Connor, performing the number.
“I Won’t Send Roses”
A song so beautiful, it appears twice. Mack sings it, and then after their first night together, Mabel sings her version. But it’s truly like bookends, it comes in a set, so here’s both.
“Time Heals Everything”
This epic Jerry Herman torch song is what it’s all about. It almost feels like it could be part of Sondheim’s Follies, it’s so devastating. And no one does it like Bernadette.