Jack Viertel's Broadway Lullaby

As artistic director of the Encores series at New York's City Center, Jack Viertel is the go-to guy for one of New York's hottest musical-theater tickets. It's just the latest phase, though, in an impressive theatrical career.

Viertel got his start in the theater as an L.A.-based critic. Once he made the leap to producing — he's now creative director for the Jujamcyn Theaters group — he became instrumental in bringing shows as diverse as M. Butterfly, Jelly's Last Jam, and The Producers to Broadway. He's been closely associated with the plays of August Wilson, as well.

At Encores, Viertel revives vintage Broadway musicals in limited runs; the staging is minimal, and actors read from scripts. But the short runs and the chance to rediscover yesterday's hits helps make Encores a major musical-theater event each season. (The long-running Chicago revival got its start as an Encores presentation.)

The latest Encores, Stairway to Paradise, stars Kristin Chenoweth in an homage to the musical revue; it runs May 10-May 14.

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