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Oh Boy!
City Lit Theater
Chicago, IL
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Oh Boy!
The fifth and final production of City Lit Theater's thirtieth anniversary 2009-2010 season, the first Chicago performances in 92 years of the landmark musical comedy Oh Boy!, with a score by Jerome Kern, lyrics by P. G. Wodehouse, and book by Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, will begin previews at City Lit Theater on Friday, May 21, 2010 and open for the press on Tuesday, May 25.  The production, directed by Terry McCabe and with new musical arrangements and music direction by Kingsley Day and choreography by Amy Uhl, runs through Sunday, June 27, 2010.

The production marks the return to City Lit's stage of the work of P. G. Wodehouse, the theatre's most frequently produced author, after a five-year lapse.  Over a 17-year stretch ending in 2005, City Lit produced an unbroken string of annual Wodehouse shows, including a nine-year run of world premiere stage adaptations of his comic novels featuring the characters Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves.  Oh Boy! is the first Wodehouse musical to be produced by City Lit.  

Jerome Kern is the composer of Show Boat and dozens of other Broadway musicals comprising a catalogue of over 700 songs, including dozens of standards.  Seven of his songs written for films over the years received Academy Award Best Song nominations; two of them, "The Way You Look Tonight" and "The Last Time I Saw Paris," won Oscars.

Guy Bolton trained as an architect and helped design the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in New York City, but is better remembered as a playwright, screenwriter, and librettist of Broadway musicals.  He wrote or co-wrote over 50 plays and musicals, 20 of which were collaborations with Wodehouse, notably including the book for Cole Porter's Anything Goes.  He wrote two shows with George and Ira Gershwin, Lady Be Good and Oh, Kay!  His best known work as a screenwriter is the 1956 film Anastasia .

Oh Boy! concerns the romantic travails of George Budd, a  young man who must hide his bride from the disapproving aunt who controls his financeswhile he conceals from his bride the single woman who has innocently appeared in his bedroom.  Wodehouse and Kern's songs for the show include "Till the Clouds Roll By,"  which was later used as the title song of Kern's Hollywood biopic.

The most popular collaboration of its three creators, Oh Boy! was one of the earliest musical comedies to integrate its songs into the plot, thereby helping pave the way for the modern American musical.  It was the longest-running of what were known as the Princess musicals:  written for the intimate Princess Theatre, the shows broke ground in several directions.  In an era of big-budget Ziegfeld-style musical extravaganzas and European light operas, the Princess musicals had relatively small casts, no stars, individualized chorus members, single sets for each act, and depicted modern American characters and locales.  Most importantly, Kern and Wodehouse broke with the Broadway conventions of the day by striving to make their songs relate to the story.  

Oh Boy! opened on February 20, 1917 and ran for 463 performances.  Under a title change to Oh Joy! it became one of the first American shows to have a hit run in London.  Broadway historians Ken Bloom and Frank Vlastnik include Oh Boy! in their book Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time.  Though it has not been produced in Chicago since the original Broadway touring company played the Loop in 1918, a concert version of Oh Boy! was mounted at New York's Lincoln Center in 1985, which prompted the New York Times critic John Rockwell to call it "so wonderfully, tunefully, funnily good."

The cast for Oh Boy! is Brian-Mark Conover, Kingsley Day, Danielle DeFassio, Harmony France, Jennifer T. Grubb, Rosalind Hurwitz, Sean Knight, Jasmine McNeely, Alex Newkirk, Adam Pasen, Annie Passanisi, Patti Roeder, Alex Shotts, Brett Taylor, and Jayme Wojciechowski.

The design team is Matthew Cummings (properties), Roger Wykes (set), Thomas Kieffer (costumes) and Jordan Kardasz (lighting).

Oh Boy! will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM, May 21 through June 27, as well as two Thursdays at 8:00 PM, June 17 and 24.  Press opening is Tuesday, May 25 at 7:00 PM.  Ticket prices are $18 for previews and $25 after opening.  Discounts are available for seniors, students and groups of ten or more.  Tickets can be reserved by going to or by calling (773) 293-3682.

During 2009-2010, City Lit receives funding from the Alphawood Foundation, the ArtsWork Fund for Organizational Development, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs CityArts program, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.  Its outreach program is sponsored in part by A.R.T. League.

City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material.  City Lit Theater is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, one block west of Sheridan Road and a block and a half east of the Bryn Mawr Red Line L stop. The 84 Peterson bus, the 147 Lake Shore Express bus, and the 151 Sheridan bus all stop near City Lit. Valet parking is available for theatre customers through Valet Metro.  Discounted self-parking is available for theatre customers on all performance days, with validation from the Edgewater Beach CafĂ©, located in the Edgewater Beach Apartments building one block east of the theatre.


City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
United States


Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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