Tony Roberts, original co-star of the 1972 Broadway musical Sugar, hosts two concert performances of the score with Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (A Little Night Music), and Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), September 5 at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Performances of 54 Sings Sugar are scheduled for 7 and 9:30 PM in the Manhattan supper club at 254 West 54th Street.
Sugar is based on the comedy Some Like It Hot, about two musicians on the run from the mob who disguise themselves as women and get jobs in an all-female band. Roberts will join Margherita (as Sugar Kane), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (as Jerry/Daphne), Matt Hetherington (in Roberts’ role of Joe/Josephine), Tony Sheldon (as Osgood Fielding III), Neva Small (as Sweet Sue), and others in the performance of the score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill.
Styne and Merrill wrote numerous shows with others, but as a team, they were responsible for the scores to Funny Girl and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Their Sugar score includes “Penniless Bums,” “The Beauty That Drives Men Mad,” “November,” “When You Meet A Man in Chicago,” and the title song.
Roberts had a Broadway career that included the original casts of Woody Allen’s Don’t Drink the Water and Play It Again, Sam (for which he received his second Tony Award nomination). He also appeared in several musicals, including Victor/Victoria, How Now Dow Jones (his first Tony nod), and as a replacement in They’re Playing Our Song and Promises, Promises.
He is perhaps best known for having transitioned to film with Allen, playing major roles in his Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Stardust Memories, among others. His most recent Broadway appearance was in 2009’s revival of The Royal Family. His autobiography, Do You Know Me?, was published in 2015.
Several stage veterans will also appear in the chorus of The “Dirty Old Men” ensemble: Jim Brochu (Zero Hour), Mychael Leverage, Lawrence Merritt (Dear World), and Steve Schalchlin (The Last Session). Sweet Sue’s Society Syncopaters will consist of Amanda DeLalla, Miranda Gelch, Lethabo Moffome, Lauren Moore, Libby Rosenfeld, and Ruby Shadley.
The original production of Sugar opened April 9, 1972, and ran 505 performances. Gower Champion directed and choreographed a cast led by Roberts, Robert Morse, Elaine Joyce, Cyril Ritchard, and Sheila Smith. It was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Robert W Schneider, who directs and produces the concert, said, “Sugar holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first cast recordings I ever purchased. The magnificent music of Jule Styne and the witty lyrics of Bob Merrill make this score truly magical. I am so happy that Feinstein’s/54 Below is allowing audiences to get reacquainted with this wonderful show.”
Tickets to 54 Sings Sugar cost $35–$65 (plus a $25 food/drink minimum) and can be ordered here.