Ten years after its birth in Nashville, a hit Off-Broadway musical has returned to the stage for a lengthy engagement in Philadelphia and nearby cities that once again involves several members of the Nashville theater community.
A Stoop On Orchard Street, with book, music and lyrics by Nashville resident Jay Kholos, takes a nostalgic look at tenement life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, circa 1910. The musical comedy follows the trials and tribulations of the Lomansky family and neighbors as they adjust to a new life and new home in America, so different from the shtetls of Eastern Europe they left behind.
The current production previewed with shows in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. and New York City on Oct. 6 and 7, respectively. It opened Oct. 10 at the Dell Theater in Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History where it runs through Dec. 30. During its Philadelphia engagement, the show will also be performed in nearby cities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
A Stoop On Orchard Street was first performed in a workshop at Nashville’s Gordon Jewish Community Center (GJCC) in Nov. 2002. It featured such well-known Nashville actors as Danny Proctor, John Silvestro, Kaine Riggan, and the late Anne Tonelson and Lon Gary.
It then premiered at New York City’s historic Mazer Theater in July 2003 and enjoyed a remarkably successful 16-month run – the longest-running show in the theater’s history. A second company launched Stoop at the Stage Door Theatre in South Florida starring current Nashville actress Vicki White where it ran for 5 months, eventually launching a 30-city tour across North America.
Kholos’ second musical, My Catskills Summer, premiered at the GJCC in March 2010. This sequel to Stoop looked at the next generation of Jewish-Americans, who had become successful, moved to the suburbs, and were largely (but not completely) “assimilated.” Barry Williams (from TV’s “The Brady Bunch“) starred in this production, which included such Nashville-based talents as Dan McGeachy, Mike Baum, Patrick Kramer, Alan Lee, Howard Snyder, and Stoop veterans Silvestro and White.
The new production of A Stoop On Orchard Street includes a cast and production team that come from the Nashville and Philadelphia areas. Lee (under his stage name B.D. Boudreaux) is directing and stars in the show that is produced by Kholos.
The other Nashville-based production members include musical director Mark Beall, choreographer Kim Kinsley, set designer Anthony Popolo, associate producer Noel Henebury-Farmer, and dramaturg/music supervisor/assistant producer Snyder. In addition to Lee, castmembers from the Nashville theater community include Mia Rose, Francine Berk, and Snyder.
Cast list and production team information:
*Archival production photos courtesy Big Apple Musicals and A Stoop on Orchard Street production team.