Stage preview: Actor George Dvorsky comes home for CLO


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George Dvorsky is a working musical theater actor with a hefty resume of roles that now includes the lead in the New York revival of "The Fantasticks," whose original version has been running a record 42 consecutive years off-Broadway. The place to see the Irwin native for the next week is not in the Snapple Theater at Broadway and 50th Street in the heart of New York's theater district, but back on his home turf, as star of Pittsburgh CLO's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at the Benedum Center.

'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'

Where: Pittsburgh CLO at the Benedum Center, Downtown.

When: Through June 16. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets: $10-$65.75; pittsburghCLO.org or 412-456-6666.

For "The Fantasticks," he had signed a 13-week contract before being offered the full year to sing "Try to Remember" as the narrator, El Gallo, the role originally played by Jerry Orbach. He said yes with a caveat -- he had made a commitment to return home for two CLO shows, as Pat Denning in the just-ended "42nd Street" and as oldest brother Adam in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." He also would need time next month to attend The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program at the Ten Chimneys estate in Wisconsin. The program for 20-year theater veterans who have a history in a regional theater will allow him a week of study with Alan Alda, whose focus will be on spontaneity in theater.

"I said I had to come home," said Mr. Dvorsky, 55, who was last here over Christmas, right after his older brother, Michael Dvorsky, died at age 54. The team at the "The Fantasticks" was accommodating, and he plans to finish out the year in New York while meeting his other commitments.

The singer has performed with orchestras and in opera houses worldwide, and Broadway credits for the handsome 6-foot-4 actor include "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Passion" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

A role the he often hears is a favorite of fans is his Tommy Albright from "Brigadoon," which Mr. Dvorsky performed here in 2001.

"I also did it in 2004 in Houston, and Adam Lambert was Charlie," the actor said of the former "American Idol" finalist. "He was this little red-head, freckle-faced 21-year-old who sang the most beautiful version of 'Come to Me, Bend to Me.' I saw he's going to be here [for a Pride Fest concert Saturday]. Adam stayed in my apartment when he first came to New York, and then we lost touch. ... I hope I get to see him when he's here."

"Seven Brides" marks his 10th homecoming with Pittsburgh CLO and a return to a role he had in 2006. On Wednesday, there will be 80 Dvorskys and friends in the audience to welcome him. "I've got someone coming to every performance except [the finale] on Sunday night," he said.

His Adam is the vocal powerhouse of the piece, while the dance-heavy musical features a group of youngsters whose presence brings Mr. Dvorsky back to 1978, when he was beginning his career as a Carnegie Mellon student and CLO ensemble member before heading off to New York.

There are changes from the 2006 CLO production that mirrored the 1982 Broadway original. After the Pittsburgh production, the show hit the road for a mini-tour and a new song replaced the dated, "A Woman Ought to Know Her Place." Mr. Dvorsky said he would sing his heart out on that one, but never earned more than polite applause -- even from family members.

"I knew the lyrics were a little iffy, but [audiences] really didn't like it. So they replaced it with a song called 'Where Were You,' which is more about Adam saying, 'You weren't here when my mother died, you weren't here when the barn burned, you weren't here when Caleb almost drowned. Now you're here and you think you can boss us all around?' So it's more about our situation, Adam's and Millie's. The last line is, 'Stand behind your man' -- we have to get that in there to further the plot. But the song works much better without saying, 'This is where men are; this is where women are.' "

The musical tells the story of six brothers who kidnap potential brides in 19th-century Oregon, while oldest brother Adam has married Millie (Mamie Parris), unaware of what awaits her back on the farm. Mr. Dvorsky noted that after the show left Pittsburgh, the creative team beefed up the love story between Adam and Millie, "to make it more playful and more fun."

theater - neigh_westmoreland

Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960.


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