A high-stepping new musical about
 the screen's greatest tough-guy.
 


STAGED READING AT THE YORK THEATRE
2:30 pm - 619 Lexington Ave New York
FRIDAY JUNE 13th 2014


STARRING ROBERT CREIGHTON

(Broadway's "Anything Goes", "Edwin Drood", "Little Mermaid")
as James Cagney

Staged Reading Directed by Bill Castellino
Choreographed by Josh Bergasse

"Cagney" is a high-stepping, explosive new musical  about legendary star and the screen’s greatest tough-guy, James Cagney.  "Cagney" follows the actor from his humble beginnings in New York City's Lower East Side through his rise as a vaudeville song-and-dance man to his superstardom in Hollywood. Filled with show-stopping song and dance numbers from Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Seven Little Foys and many others, "Cagney" is a toe-tapping musical tribute that has left audiences cheering.

Book by Peter Colley

Music & Lyrics by Robert Creighton and Christopher McGovern

And featuring the music of George M. Cohan (Yankee Doodle Dandy, Grand Old Flag, etc)

6 Actors (4M, 2F) - 1 Set - 5 Musicians
To listen to the songs and read the script click here:


The 2010 Florida Carbonell Awards*  

WINNER
"Best New Work"
(Play or Musical)

Nominations
 "Best New Work" (Play or Musical)  /  "Best Actor"  /  "Best Production Of A Musical"
"Best Director"  /  "Best Supporting Actor"  / "Best Musical Direction"
"Best Choreography"

 * THE CARBONELL AWARDS: "Along with New York’s Drama Desk and Chicago’s Jefferson Awards,
the Carbonell Awards are among the nation’s senior regional arts awards."  For more information CLICK HERE.

'CAGNEY' is the recipient of a     
New American Play Award     

 from The Edgerton Foundation (Theatre Communications Group)      

     WINNER of two 2009 Silver Palm Awards

     

       

The World Premiere was staged at the:

"South Florida's Premier Resident Theatre" Palm Beach, FL

ALSO PRODUCED AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATRE 2010 - VERO BEACH FLORIDA (700 seats)
CANADIAN PREMIERES AT THE DRAYTON FESTIVAL AND THE HURON COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE
(For details see below)


TO SEE PICTURES FROM THE RIVERSIDE PRODUCTION CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE OR: CLICK HERE


To visit the Riverside Theatre web site click on the picture above or CLICK HERE


Riverside Theatre, 2010

Starring Broadway's ROBERT CREIGHTON as James Cagney. 


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Joel Newsome, Ellen Zolezzi, Robert Creighton, Darrin Baker, Brian Ogilvie, Tina Stafford

Photos and Reviews from The Florida Stage 2009
BY THE FOURTH PREVIEW THE ENTIRE 6-WEEK RUN WAS SOLD OUT!
 
BREAKS THEATRE'S 24-YEAR BOX OFFICE RECORD


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography - www.kjphotography.com
Joel Newsome, Robert Creighton

("CAGNEY" is performed with a minimum of 6 performers.)

"Dazzling!  A perfect musical bound for BroadwayFlorida Sun-Sentinel

"Earnest, energetic... crowd pleasing... showstoppers (with) pure hallelujah moments.   Skyrocket work from Creighton... Cagney clearly has a future.Variety

"'Cagney' has several things going for it, not the least of which is that the audience goes crazy for the show... wild cheers and applause.Miami Herald (Critic's Pick)

"'Cagney' is a magnificent musical that is guaranteed to put a great big grin on your face.Miami Art Zine 

"'Cagney' premiere is compelling musical theater.  A shining example of what The Florida Stage can do when all the pieces fall into place.Palm Beach Daily News

"This new and exciting world premiere musical is creating a stir in the theatrical community.  Great musical theater... standing ovation from the entire audience.Daily Press

"Dancing dynamo: James Cagney show top flight!  Robert Creighton, a veteran Broadway actor, plays Cagney as if he were shot out of a cannon... a high-stepping musical that should delight theatergoers.  ... inspired tap-dancing numbers. Palm Beach Post

"One of the most impressive tribute musicals which have emerged in recent years.  One can visualize this musical off-Broadway or making the rounds of professional theatre nationwide."   Florida Media News


From the video by Robert Goodrich
Robert Creighton

"DAZZLING MUSICAL TAKES ON HOLLYWOOD LEGEND"

"There's no doubt that even Cagney scholars will find something to learn in "Cagney", a show that edifies while it entertains.  It is, dare I say, a perfect musical bound for Broadway.  The show tackles serious issues but maintains an effective comedic tone throughout.  The song and dance numbers are alternately hilarious and stunning, sometimes at the same time: The image of Cagney, in his early follies circuit, decked out in drag and throwing pieces of his wardrobe into the Florida Stage audience, is unforgettable.  Act two features at least two show-stopping numbers... "Cagney" feels a bit like a '30s Broadway musical, from the dialogue to the production numbers to the old-fashioned humor.  As a tribute to a performer who saw himself as a positive dramatic showman – much more of a Yankee Doodle Dandy than an angel with a dirty face – I can't imagine a better salute."   John Thomason 

"This is an earnest, energetic bio-musical, which has some crowd-pleasing embryonic pleasures and a breakout performance by Robert Creighton as the scrappy but sensitive hoofer who fought the tough-guy straitjacket for much of his life.  "Cagney" is a 1930s Warner Brothers movie musical -- ... escapist entertainment for a stressed-out world battling economic depression... with showstoppers... a U.S.O. show replete with George M. Cohan songs; the inevitable "Give My Regards to Broadway"; a tap-dancing duel from "The Seven Little Foys".  These are the pure hallelujah moments.   The skyrocket work comes from Creighton, currently on Broadway hiatus from "The Little Mermaid" - this stocky firecracker smolders with intensity and charisma.  "Cagney" clearly has a future in regional theaters and perhaps Off Broadway.  "   Bill Hirschman

"CAGNEY!  A REAL YANKEE DOODLE DANDY"
Critic's Pick

"'Cagney' has several things going for it, not the least of which is that the audience goes crazy for the show.  Star Robert Creighton, like Cagney, a red-haired dynamo of an entertainer, gradually supersedes memories of the real Cagney as the 2-hour musical unfolds.  When he tackles the George M. Cohan numbers that helped win Cagney an Oscar for Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, Creighton earns every decibel of the crowd's wild cheers and applause."   Christine Dolen

"DANCING DYNAMO - JAMES CAGNEY SHOW TOP FLIGHT"

"In his legendary career on stage and screen, James Cagney played a variety of roles.  But he will be forever remembered for only one: The Tough Guy.  No one, after all, played a mouthy, gun-wielding gangster better than Cagney.  Those parts, however, often overshadowed Cagney's impressive skills as a song-and-dance man, a bona-fide hoofer who grew up tap dancing on slanted cellar doors.  The Oscar-winning actor was a frustrated dancer and that theme is at the crux of 'Cagney', the winning new musical now playing at Florida Stage.  Over 15 years in the making, 'Cagney' is the brainchild of Robert Creighton, a veteran Broadway actor (The Little Mermaid) who also convincingly plays the wildly energetic Cagney as if he were shot out of a cannon.  Not only does Creighton bear more than a passing resemblance to the one-time amateur boxer, but he also possesses the late actor's squat, fire-hydrant physique.  And Creighton puts it all to good use in a high-stepping musical that should delight theatergoers.  

Over the next two hours (but it doesn't feel like it), the play covers everything from Cagney's early vaudeville years, to his hardscrabble New York City roots, to his rise to Hollywood leading man to charges he was a Communist.  Kudos to Peter Colley's detailed script which works well as a compelling, well-rounded character study.  'Cagney' is also served well by the show's polished five-member ensemble who play multiple roles with ease (Bette Davis, Bob Hope, Cagney's wife, etc.) and who work harder than five James Browns combined under Bill Castellino's sure-footed direction.  Jeff Shade's choreography and Christopher McGovern's musical direction work best on an inspired tap-dancing number during which a group of screenwriters use their feet as typewriter keys while typing potential film roles for Cagney.

...you believe you're watching James Cagney, the quintessential tough man who really only wanted to dance." 
Kevin D Thompson

"MUSICAL CAGNEY IS A FUN AND FABULOUS LOOK AT A LEGEND"

"'Cagney' is a magnificent musical that is guaranteed to put a great big grin on your face.  'Cagney' is a feel-good show about a legendary actor known for both his intense tough guy roles and his breezy musicals.  From his beginnings in New York City's tough Lower East Side through his rise in vaudeville and stardom in Hollywood, 'Cagney' hits on the major things that made James Cagney a legend.  And while biographical musicals run the danger of simply telling what happened in a person's life, Peter Colley, who wrote the book for 'Cagney', deftly sidesteps that trap by delving deeper to show a man in conflict, whose morality and sense of justice was at odds with his screen portrayals of the despicable gangsters his audience loved.  

Director Bill Castellino keeps the tone frothy but still injects a real sense of urgency to the plot.  Part of the fun of Cagney is its staged renditions of famous Cagney film moments from such films as The Public Enemy and White Heat.  Those who haven't seen these classics will enjoy the back story of how they came to be, but the movie lovers in the audience will really get a kick out of them because they'll be in on the joke. 

'Cagney' boasts a talented ensemble cast who each get time to shine. Darrin Baker plays hard-boiled studio boss Jack Warner, with a brilliant combination of humor and ruthlessness. Ellen Zolezzi is delightful in her main role as Willie, Cagney's wife and Tina Stafford excels as both Cagney's long-suffering mother and as Jack Warner's love-struck secretary Jane.  But the star of 'Cagney' is Robert Creighton.  In just a few minutes he transforms himself into the man, channeling Cagney's demeanor, his expressions, his stance. Creighton becomes Cagney, so much so that although the musical traces more than 50 years of Cagney's life, no aging make-up is needed. 

Creighton conveys Cagney's affable charm, his sly sense of humor and his stubbornness, but when he dances, his exuberance fills the stage.  His tapping numbers are a thing of beauty, and he captures Cagney's breezy, effortless style.  When he does the famous "Yankee Doodle Dandy" number from Cagney's most famous movie, he meets all expectations of a true Cagney fan.   Creighton, also one of the creators of the show, is as talented behind the scenes as on stage.  His songs, "Crazy 'Bout You" and "Fallin' in Love" are the kind of sweet and bouncy love numbers a musical like this needs.  Musical director Christopher McGovern anchors 'Cagney' with repeating themes and terrific songs that propel the story and provide opportunities for great staging and exposition.  His "A Work of Genius", "Action" and "Black and White" are enjoyable and memorable. 

"'Cagney' is magnificent from start to finish.  It earns the exclamation point in its title."   Mary Damiano

"CAGNEY PREMIERE IS COMPELLING MUSICAL THEATRE"

"'Cagney' proves that in the right hands even a guy who's remembered primarily for playing gangsters in the movies can be transmuted into compelling musical theater.  The musical distills James Cagney's story into a duel that sets Cagney, who chafes at being typecast as a tough guy and studio despotism, against Warner Brothers Studio head Jack Warner, who is determined to keep him boxed into bottom-line-fattening action films.  

Creighton inhabits the role of Cagney from the first moment he walks on stage with his chin thrust out, his eyes wide and his stance recalling the amateur boxer Cagney was in his youth.  Darrin Baker's delightfully ruthless and egotistical Warner provides the foil for the idealistic Cagney.  The show moves as briskly as film whipping through a projector. Along the way we learn about Cagney's early days on vaudeville, his failed attempt to produce his own films and his grilling by the House Un-American Activities Committee.   'Cagney' is a shining example of what Florida Stage can do when all the pieces fall into place."  Jan Sjostrom

"NEW MUSICAL CREATES A STIR IN THE THEATRICAL COMMUNITY"

"A new and exciting world premiere musical which is creating a stir in the theatrical community.  The excitement in the theater brought a standing ovation from the entire audience in the theater.  Creighton is a dynamo actor and dancer... he gives an exceptional performance as Cagney... this musical is highly recommended for an evening of great musical theater."  


"PALM BEACH TO BROADWAY?"

"A wonderful production.  The musical does a great job in describing a fascinating individual.  Perhaps 'Cagney' will find Broadway producers to produce this informative and entertaining musical."  Al Horowitz

 
 

"ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE TRIBUTE MUSICALS WHICH HAVE EMERGED IN RECENT YEARS.  ONE CAN VISUALIZE THIS MUSICAL OFF-BROADWAY OR MAKING THE ROUNDS OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRES NATIONWIDE."

"If you are a movie lover or old enough to remember when this tough guy slammed a grapefruit into Mae Clark’s face or, for that matter, can just enjoy watching grown men and women in some astonishing tap routines, Florida Stage has just the right entertainment for you with its latest offering, the musical 'Cagney'.  

Florida Stage has found a definitive way to entertain its audience, no matter what its age may be.  This musical – a tribute to movie tough guy Jimmy Cagney --- focuses on his career, from a start in vaudeville (appearing in drag) to his success in winning an Oscar for his song-and-dance appearance in Yankee Doodle Dandy, including his appearance before the Commie-seeking House un-American Activities Committee and his love-hate relationship with movie mogul Jack Warner.

It’s the kind of a show in which – depending on your age – will either thrill to recalling the golden years of post-Depression crime cinema or have you heading for your computer to Google the talented Irishman.  And, for those of you who Google, it will be a pleasant surprise to learn just how factual this story-line is to the real Cagney.

This world-premiere musical is the creation of Robert Creighton, who co-wrote the show's original music and plays the star who dominated the crime movies of the 1930s and 40s.  Act one is primarily a biographic look at how this popular star got started – aided by a string of Vaudeville jokes – while the second act is an entertaining tribute to the patriotic songs which Cagney made famous as he played George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Put these two acts together and you’ve got one of the more impressive tribute musicals which have emerged in recent years.

This is a starring vehicle for Creighton (already a headliner thanks to his lead in The Little Mermaid on Broadway) , who not only looks and sounds like Cagney but dances up a storm in re-creating and celebrating this man, once considered among the most popular in movieland.  Creighton – along with Christopher McGovern – penned the original music, and then added additional, familiar music from Yankee Doodle Dandy, Peter Colley wrote this original story.

While all eyes will be on the dancing prowess of Creighton, it won’t escape you that Director Bill Castellino has assembled a near-perfect back up cast, playing multiple roles. In addition to Darrin Baker (playing Jack Warner), there are two sensational dancers -- Joel Newsome and Brian Ogilvie, whose tap-clicking numbers are sure to please.  Watching these men in action is homage to anyone who has earned the right to be called a hoofer. Add to these men, Tina Stafford and Ellen Zolezzi.  They do a couple of toe-clicking routines which are somewhat reminiscent of last year’s hit The Adding Machine.  This is one heck of a supporting cast!


Mark Pirolo has created a unique set with movable screens and which will rekindle your memory of Cagney’s many movies, Erin Amico recreates the stylish garb of the mid-century and Matt Kelly does for sound what Cagney’s feet did for tap-dancing.

One can visualize this tiny musical off-Broadway or making the rounds of professional theatre nationwide (but only if producers take Creighton and the entire cast on the theatrical journey).  
Ron Levitt - Florida Media News

'CAGNEY' stars Broadway actor Robert Creighton (Little Mermaid, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and co-stars Broadway's Darrin Baker (Sunset Boulevard, Scarlet Pimpernel) as Jack Warner.

        
Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Robert Creighton

     
Photo by Ken Jacques Photography     
Tina Stafford, Brian Ogilvie, Robert Creighton, Ellen Zolezzi, Joel Newsome     

    
     Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
       Robert Creighton, Darrin Baker (Jack Warner) 

     
Photo by Ken Jacques Photography     
Tina Stafford, Robert Creighton              


    
     Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
         Darrin Baker (Jack Warner), Tina Stafford

     
Photo by Ken Jacques Photography     
Darrin Baker (Jack Warner), Robert Creighton     

    
     Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
                Robert Creighton

     
Brian Ogilvie, Ellen Zolezzi     

    
     From the video by Robert Goodrich
      Robert Creighton, Ellen Zolezzi


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Brian Ogilvie, Joel Newsome, Darrin Baker, Tina Stafford, Ellen Zolezzi


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Joel Newsome, Ellen Zolezzi, Robert Creighton, Brian Ogilvie, Tina Stafford


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
  Robert Creighton


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Ellen Zolezzi, Brian Ogilvie, Darrin Baker, Tina Stafford, Joel Newsome


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Ellen Zolezzi, Tina Stafford


Photo by Ken Jacques Photography
Brian Ogilvie, Robert Creighton, Ellen Zolezzi, Tina Stafford, Joel Newsome

THE DRAYTON FESTIVAL 

 & THE HURON COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE

  

 

To visit their web site CLICK HERE


See the video from the London Free Press CLICK HERE

CANADIAN PREMIERE - SUMMER 2010

"As a biographical musical, 'Cagney' is pure entertainment... the audience lifted in an uproarious cheer... a wonderful production!  Robert Creighton, who plays Cagney, was made for the stage, with his energy, stage presence and ability to make it all look so darned easy.  This man is a huge talent and one to watch."   Valerie Hill, The Record

"The story of Jimmy Cagney is fascinating in itself, but this musical adds to that with great songs, excellent dance, and humourous one-liners scattered throughout. Those who are fans of Vaudeville style entertainment and old black-and-white movies will enjoy this show.  And those who think James Cagney was just a dirty rat must see it."  Mary Alderson, The Beat


From The Drayton Festival 2010
Risa Waldman, Robert Creighton, Joel Newsome, Amy Wallis, Brian Ogilvie

Read the articles in Playbill Magazine click here

CONTACT:

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Bruce Ostler
BRET ADAMS LTD
Bret Adams, Ltd. 448 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
(212) 765-5630
bostler@bretadamsltd.net

CREATIVE TEAM:

ROBERT CREIGHTON

Website:  www.RobertCreightonNYC.com

PETER COLLEY:

Email:  peter@petercolley.com
Website: www.petercolley.com

CHRISTOPHER MCGOVERN:

Website:  www.thegingermusical.com

BILL CASTELLINO:
Email: 49cypressroad@gmail.com

6 Actors (4M, 2F) - 1 Set - 5 Musicians
To listen to the songs and read the script click here: