GEORGE M! tells the life story of George M. Cohan, a giant of the American Musical Theater who gave us such songs asYankee Doodle Dandy, Over There, You're A Grand Old Flag, and Give My Regards to Broadway. The show follows him over a 60-year period period from the late 1880s until 1937. Beginning with his childhood in Rhode Island on the vaudeville circuit with his parents and sister as "The Four Cohans," to New York, where he starts his 25-year absolute reign of the Broadway stage.
The book for the musical was written by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and Francine Pascal. Music and lyrics were, of course, by George M. Cohan himself, with revisions for the musical by Cohan's daughter, Mary Cohan.
After eight previews, the Broadway production, opened on April 10, 1968 at the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 433 performances. The cast included Joel Grey as George M. Cohan, Bernadette Peters, Jamie Donnelly, and Betty Ann Grove. The show received the 1968 Tony Award for Best Choreography (Joe Layton) and The Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance (Bernadette Peters)
In the WBT production, John Scherer, as George M. Cohan, is joined by terrific cast including the "Four Cohans", Jim Walton as George's father Jerry, Melodie Wolford as George's mom Nellie and Amanda Trusty as his sister Josie. George's first wife Ethel, is played by Laura Schutter and Jeanette Minson is Agnes, who becomes George's second wife. Katharine Heaton is Fay Templeton, Gary Lynch plays Sam Harris, Carol Schubergplays Ma Templeton/Grimaldi.
The ensemble includes Erin Burniston, Rob Gibbs, Glenn Giron, Drew King, Colin Pritchard, Jonathan Stahl and Karen Webb.
The production is Directed and Choreographed by WBT favorite, Richard Stafford, who had been at the helm for several WBT productions including Hairspray, Beauty & The Beast, Gypsy and Singin’ In The Rain. The musical director is Leo Carusone, the Associate Director/Choreographer is Jonathan Stahl, Set Design is by John Farrell, Set coordinator is Steve Loftus, Lighting Design by Andrew Gmoser, Sound Design by Jonathan Hatton, Costume design by Leon Dobkowski Production Stage Manager is Victor Lukas and the Assistant Stage Manager is Ron Rogell. Properties are by Grumpy’s Props.