Another "Coco" article…

Again from the San Francisco Chronicle (

‘Coco’s’ music of chance
Edward Guthmann
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Resurrecting “Coco” from the dead required ingenuity and detective work. According to Greg MacKellan, 42nd Street Moon’s co-artistic director, the show was never registered with Samuel French, Inc., or any other company that licenses performing rights for plays and musicals.
“We had to go to (lyricist) Alan Jay Lerner’s attorney to acquire the rights,” says MacKellan. Lerner died in 1986. “Unfortunately, no orchestrations existed and no piano score. There were a few songs published as sheet music, but they didn’t always match the routines in the show. There’s also some music in the show that’s not on the cast album.”

Luckily, the late Hershy Kay, orchestrator for the 1969 Katharine Hepburn production, had bequeathed a lot of piano vocal material to the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library at Yale University. Michael Horsley, 42nd Street Moon’s musical director, patched it all together, in some cases transcribing melodies and orchestrations from the “Coco” CD when he couldn’t find them in Kay’s papers.

“Fortunately,” MacKellan says, “the script was complete. We were also able to get the stage manager’s script from Lerner’s attorney.”

MacKellan says he always wanted Andrea Marcovicci to play Coco. She’d started her cabaret career at the Plush Room in the mid-’80s, played several starring roles at American Conservatory Theater in the early ’90s and headed the 42nd Street Moon production of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” in 1999.

When Hepburn sang the score, it was in the talk-singing idiom that Rex Harrison used in “My Fair Lady.” “We’re bringing the music back to the musical,” Marcovicci, 59, said at a recent “Coco” rehearsal. “No offense to Madame Hepburn, (but) there were very few of the melodies that she was able to actually deliver.”

Chanel’s emotional palette will also change in this production, Marcovicci promises. “From what I’m gathering of the Hepburn performance, she felt the defiance in the character. But the character is rich with pain, loss, ambivalence, joy, flirtatiousness, need, love. Every emotion under the sun. And defiance.”

Marcovicci had hoped to wear vintage Chanel onstage, but the Chanel organization declined to loan any clothes for this production. Instead, she says, “I am wearing vintage pieces from my own collection (including Givenchy, Valentino). And I’m wearing very serious pieces of costume jewelry from the ’30s through the ’50s.”