Ellen Foley stage appearances

This section details Ellen's stage appearances in musical, cabaret and theatre, both on and off-Broadway.

Quick links: Sophia Equals Wisdom Part 2 | Charley Chestnut Rides The IRT | Boy Meets Boy | The National Lampoon Show | YMCA | Neverland | Hair | Dreamgirls | Eve Is Innocent | Cabaret Before and After Rock-and-Roll | Upstairs at Greene Street | These Sunglasses Belonged to Roy Orbison | Beehive | Into The Woods | Mostly Mercer | Gotham | Beautiful Bodies | Me And My Girl | The Cincinnati Saint | Mixed Nuts Roasting On An Open Fire | The Last Sweet Days | Loungeville | Mineola Twins | Femme Fatale | Hercules in High Suburbia | Slow Dance With a Hot Pick-Up | Miscellaneous
"Charley Chestnut Rides The IRT" (1975)
"Charley Chestnut Rides The IRT" opened 3 April 1975 at TNC, in New York. It was written by Arthur Sainer and Crystal Field. Ellen had a small part in this play, which was structured like a piece of popular entertainment: songs, puppets, parodies of movies.

Synopsis: Charley's a subway conductor, night shift on the I.R.T. Typical night: Charley's fight with middle-aged scavenger who wants Charley's Daily News; silent dialogue with blonde in whisky ad; Graffiti Kid who sprays car and sometimes passengers. Typical day at home: Mary doing housework, Ella doing homework. But a visit to the doctor - and Charley gets the death warrant. Rare blood disease? We're never told. How long? Months. What's Charley feeling? Cheated. Through poker-playing scenes with his buddies at the local garage, family scenes and strange subway encounters, grotesque, sometimes comic scenes, we see Charley struggling to regain control of his life or at least understand what's happening. At one point there's a musical recreation of the '39 World's Fair, when Charley and Mary were young lovers. (view original article)
"Boy Meets Boy" (1975)
[Boy Meets Boy] "Boy Meets Boy" originated off-off Broadway at Edith O'Hara's 13th Street Theater in NYC, in the spring of 1975. Ellen had a small part in the musical, but she only stayed for a couple months. When the show moved to off-Broadway Actors Playhouse in September 1975, Ellen had already started working with "The National Lampoon Show". The "Boy Meets Boy" musical became quite successful, and a cast recording from Actors Playhouse was released on album in 1978.

Also featuring Bobby Reed, "Boy Meets Boy" was one of the first gay musicals. It was written by Bill Solly, and centres around the 1936 society wedding of the year, the happy couple being two men.

Said Ellen later: "I was a token female in a comedy called "Boy Meets Boy". I feel lucky that I have always been able to find work in my field. It's a good thing, because I waited tables for three weeks one summer and I was pretty bad at it."

"The National Lampoon Show" (1975/76)
[National Lampoon Show] During the winter of 1975/76 Ellen got a part in the touring company of 'The National Lampoon Show', "completely tasteless, sacrilegious - and a lot of fun", Ellen later remembered, and added: "it was a great opportunity because Martin Charnin, who wrote Annie, was the director". Ellen recalls enjoying the skirts in which she played the role first done by Gilda Radner, but she felt she wasn't cut out for a life of frivolity that offered little chance to let her sensitivity shine through.

This was also where she first met Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman and Mimi Kennedy. She took time off from the band she was playing in at the time, to join 'The National Lampoon Show', and she would eventually leave the band for good.

Doug Isaac: "My college sweetheart, Ellen Foley, was also the singer in my band. Ellen was having success with her acting career and was starting to make a name for herself. She landed a part in the National Lampoon Show after the original cast members left to start 'Saturday Night Live.' Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman were also members of the new Lampoon cast. When they hired Ellen to sing the backing vocals on the record I had to find a new singer for my band. Meat and I had become friends as we shared an ongoing joke about him breaking up my band. After the album was finished, Ellen did not want to do any of the upcoming live shows and once again Meat Loaf plucked my new singer, Karla DeVito" (view original article)

[National Lampoon Show] Pittsburgh Press (15 January 1976) reviewed the first of four "National Lampoon Show" to be staged at the Nixon Theatre on 14-15-16 and 17 January 1976, in downtown Pittsburgh:

"Seldom has a group of performers worked so hard to be rude as the cast of 'The National Lampoon Show' at the Nixon. That's the idea: to offend. To a point, the players succeed. They're a likeable lot: two girls, four guys and a pianist, almost all of them are on stage throughout the intermissionless 100-minute show. They fail, ultimately, because their material offends the wrong way, its irreverence backfires. 'Lampoon' is more tiresomely vulgar than cleverly satiric. The better practioners of insult humor understand that it isn't enough to be outrageous; humor thrieves on cockeyed insight. Here, there is little. Martin Charnin staged 'Lampoon' with a cast featuring Jim Hosbein (best of the lot by virtue of his timing and offhandedness), Ellen Foley and Larry Dilg".

Ellen Foley and Larry Dilg are pictured right. Read the full article here!

"YMCA" (1976)
The writers of the "Hair" musical, Jim Ragni Jerry Rado (lyrics) and Galt MacDermot (music), collaborated with Steve Margoshes on a new musical called "Sun" in 1990. This was an environmental musical about politics, pollution and the rain forests being cut down amongst other topics. "Sun" has been in development since the mid-1970s and an early version, entitled "YMCA" was staged for backers in June 1976, directed by John Vaccaro with appearances by Ruby Lynn Reyner, Annie-Joe Edwards and Ellen Foley. Rado told New York Magazine that "YMCA will do to the seventies what what HAIR did to the sixties", but the 1976 version never made it past rehearsals, despite being the most extravagant (a cast of 40) and expensive (over $25.000) in Broadway history at the time.
"Neverland" (1977)
Jim Steinman wrote his first musical in 1973 called "More Than You Deserve". This was re-written in 1975 and became "The Dream Engine" first (with Meat Loaf in a starring role), and then "Neverland". Steinman tried to stage it at Broadway but when he failed he took it to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for a one-off workshop production instead. He had been working on the script while on tour with The National Lampoon Show, so he invited Ellen Foley and Larry Dilg from the National Lampoon cast to join him in the two week workshop. "Neverland" has been described as a futuristic rock version of Peter Pan, and Ellen played the role of Wendy while Larry Dilg played Tink. Ellen Foley sang "Bat Out Of Hell" and "Heaven Can Wait" among others during the workshop. Interestingly the backing band for the work shop were Orchestra Luna featuring a backing vocalist named Karla DeVito! Steinman then got Meat Loaf involved again and began rehearsing "Neverland" in New York, but it wasn't long before it began to metamorphose into the album "Bat Out Of Hell". The workshop had also included "All Revved Up With No Place to Go" and other songs which would end up on the album.

 NEVERLAND programme: page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
"Hair (1977)
[Hair 1977 playbill] The Meat Loaf album was a very slow climber on the charts after it's October 1977 release (it took almost a year to reach the top 10), so Ellen was free to pursue her acting career again. She was a summer replacement in a couple of soap operas, "Search For Tomorrow" and "One Life To Live", and when they were resurrecting "Hair" on Biltmore Theatre on Broadway in the fall of 1977, Ellen played the lead role of Sheila. This in turn led to a different role in the film version directed by Miles Foreman later in the year (and released in 1979).

The 1977 revival ran from 5 October to 6 November 1977. It was produced by Michael Butler and it also featured Annie Golden (lead singer of The Shirts) making her Broadway debut playing Jeanie, plus Randall Easterbrook, Michael Holt, and Iris Rosenkrantz.

Douglas Watt in NY Daily News wrote (6 Oct 1977): "Hair" resumed last night at the Biltmore after a five-year breather and the long, loose-jointed "tribal rock" musical seemed little changed in the 10 years since it first appeared. The cast is totally new, but the show remains essentially a lively and tuneful staged rock concert that would have benefitted by being reduced to an hour. The songs, which director Tom O'Horgan has once again staged in novel fashion within Robin Wagner's elaborately junky set, as well as in the well-traversed aisles, are many and varied. "Aquarius," "I Believe in Love," "Easy to be Hard," "Frank Mills," "White Boys" and, loveliest of all, "Good Morning Starshine," are nice to hear again and to watch as the young and attractive cast goes about its now old business. The "Supremes" again stop the show as the three black girls, encased in a single tight, resilient gown, sing "White Boys" in reply to the white-girl trio's paean "Black Boys."

Ellen Foley brings an accomplished voice and feeling to her songs. She plays Sheila, who lives with both Claude, who has been drafted and is on his way to Vietnam and death (you'll recall that "Hair" takes place during the Johnson administration) and Berger, a thoroughgoing extrovert. Michael Hoit is effective as the latier and Randall Esterbrook is equally so as the more sensitive Claude, the Anglophile from Flushing.
"Dreamgirls" (1981)
The musical "Dreamgirls" followed the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called "The Dreams", who became music superstars. It had music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Tom Eyen.

Work on the script started back in 1975, titled 'The Dirtiest Show In Town', but it took many workshops (and name changes) before the script was finished as we know it today. Some members of the cast were Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, Ramona Brooks, Ben Harney, Obba Babatunde and Jennifer Holliday. Ellen Foley took part in one of the 1981 workshops at Public Theater, choreographed by Michael Bennett, but she had left the cast when the musical premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in December 1981. (view original article)
"Eve Is Innocent" (1981)
Ellen Foley was cast as Kim Dolphin in the off-Broadway play "Eve Is Innocent" by Leonard Melfi. The play ran for a month in September - October 1983 at The Writers and Directors Theatre in New York City, ending on 16 October 1983. Eliza Ventura was also featured in the play.
"Cabaret Before and After Rock-and-Roll" (1984)
[Cabaret Before and After Rock-and-Roll] Ellen performed a solo cabaret called "Cabaret Before and After Rock-and-Roll" at the NY clubs Folk City in May 1984 and also at Freddy's Supper Club in July. Said Ellen at the time: "This new act that I performed at Folk City was what I perceive as true cabaret. I don't think cabaret has to be that spry musical-comedy thing that you see in theatre bars. To me, cabaret is that pre-war German feeling of people like Brecht and Weill. That's what rock and roll was born from. It's dark, dramatic, sexual, and passionate. The Doors recorded it and it's what David Bowie is doing. It's the pure form. I'd love to do "Threepenny Opera." Jim Steinman called me the modern-day Marlene Dietrich."

Stephen Holden wrote in NY Times (12 July 1984): "Among younger pop singers, many of whom appeared in rock musicals such as 'Hair', the distinctions between rock and the theatrical-cabaret tradition don't seem as clear as they did to an older generation. Ellen Foley, who is performing at Freddy's Supper Club through Saturday, has appeared in shows such as 'Hair' and 'Boy Meets Boy'. But she has also sung with Meat Loaf and recorded two rock solo albums. And in her ambitious solo act, 'Cabaret Before and After Rock-and-Roll', Miss Foley freely moves back and forth between the two. Her repertory runs from the Rolling Stones to Blossom Dearie, from Kurt Weill to the Rolling Stones. At Tuesday's show, Miss Foley's ambitions proved much too large for her decidedly limited abilities. The singer has a small voice with a solid middle register but little strength on either the top or bottom ends. Miss Foley's vocal weaknesses were compounded by a lack of interpretive subtlety. Time and again, she settled for easy melodrama when she should have been probing for the deeper dramatic meaning of the material".
"Upstairs at Greene Street" (1985)
During her time with "Night Court", Ellen also found time to put together a cabaret act with pianist Marc Shaiman which she debuted at 'Upstairs at Greene Street' (at 103 Greene Street in New York) in June 1985. The cabaret ran throughout July.

John S. Wilson wrote in NY Times (8 July 1985): "Ellen Foley, who plays a defense attorney on the television series ''Night Court,'' is showing another side of her talent on Friday nights at Upstairs at Greene Street, the cabaret room above the Greene Street Cafe. Miss Foley, who is lithe and lively and blonde, is performing an act that is an unusual mixture of material notable not only for its sources, which include Rodgers and Hart, Bernstein and Sondheim, Weill and Brecht, as well as Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and the team of Dave Frishberg and Blossom Dearie, but for the way in which she uses their songs. She likes to combine songs that can play off each other in a way that provides her with fresh approaches to them. This comes from the fact that she develops many of her songs primarily as an actress rather than a singer, which changes the performing style of the song. An instance is ''I'm Hip,'' the song written by Blossom Dearie and Dave Frishberg that is performed by each of them with an emphasis on the cleverness of the lyrics. Miss Foley gets that part across but she also, as an actress, creates the flipped-out character that the song is about, giving it an added dimension. And then she connects to 'Cool,' the song from 'West Side Story,' which would seem to be a fascinating tie-in - except that Miss Foley does not make much of 'Cool.' This, in a broad sense, is a problem that she has with an act that is cleverly conceived and to which she brings a broad variety of talents, some very effectively but some to little purpose. One of the most important elements of her act is her piano accompanist, Marc Shaiman. He is an enlivening vocal commentator and an apt musical underliner of what she is singing, and he comes into his own on an 'I Love Lucy' medley in which, in red glitter jacket and straw hat, he shows himself to be an excellent flamboyant comedian."
"Beehive" (1986)
[Beehive - Ellen Foley, Jasmine Guy and Carol Maillard] In August 1986 Ellen starred in the "Beehive" musical at the Village Gate in Manhattan, paying tribute to girl singers of the 60s like Petula Clark, Connie Francis, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. Ellen worked alongside Gina Taylor, Laura Theodore, Jasmine Guy, Patti Darcy and Karen Maynard. Ellen is pictured right with Jasmine Guy and Carol Maillard.

"Beehive: The 60's Musical" was originally produced in a New York City nightclub named Sweetwaters in November of 1985. Conceived and directed by the late Larry Gallagher and featuring over forty tunes that topped the charts in that remarkable decade, it proved to be an instant success with critics and audiences alike. In March of 1986, it transferred to a larger Off-Broadway venue called Top of the (Village) Gate. There, Beehive defied all odds and ran for more than 600 performances, spawned a national tour and had sitdown runs in many major cities, including Chicago, Washington D.C. and Toronto. Internationally, it even found success with a company in Japan."
"Into The Woods" (1986)
[Into The Woods] In December 1986, Ellen was chosen to originate the role of the Witch (pictured right) in the production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods" at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where it ran for 50 performances before moving to Broadway. Said Ellen: "But my favorite role so far was the Witch in 'Into the Woods'. There was no personality role match there. I played someone very different from myself. That role gave me the opportunity to eat the scenery and stomp around, to be really ugly, and then transform to be beautiful. Steven Sondheim's music is challenging and it inspired me." Ellen apparently always knew she wasn't going to Broadway with it, since they were looking for a NY "name" to open, and indeed it was Bernadette Peters who played the witch on the opening night at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway in November 1987. It ran for a staggering 764 performances, and Peters was eventually replaced by Phylicia Rashad, Betsy Joslyn and Nancy Dussault at various stages of the production. It was fitting then, that Ellen was invited back to play the witch for the final month of production on Broadway, in August 1989 (it closed on 3 Sep 1989). "I have read that I was Sondheim's favorite Witch", Ellen said. "On closing night, he gave all of us a signed copy of the score. On mine, he wrote 'To Ellen: the alpha and the omega'".

"Into The Woods" began as a workshop at Playwrights Horizons in the summer of 1986. It was produced without costumes or sets. The performers wore baseball caps with signs on them indicating their character names. When they changed roles, they changed caps. The cast was grouped around a piano bench which became a variety of locations and props.

The next step in the development of "Into The Woods" was a fully staged production in December 1986, at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. While it was far more elaborate than the workshop had been, economic constraints still required a physical production that was less ambitious than the Broadway version. For instance, panels of branches gathered by local Boy Scouts were used to represent the woods in that production. The Witch had a punk rock look and a Tina Turner wig.

  Ellen Foley as the Witch during the Old Globe try out | Ellen Foley singing "Boom Crunch" at the Old Globe
"Mostly Mercer" (1987)
In February 1987 Ellen joined Nancy LaMott and Sara Krieger in Michael's Pub on East 55th Street for a cabaret called "Mostly Mercer", based on the rich legacy of songs by Johnny Mercer. The three performers were backed by the Ken Werner Trio.

John S. Wilson wrote in NY Times (22 February 1987): "Some of the most successful shows presented at Michael's Pub, 211 East 55th Street, in recent years have been built around the songs of an outstanding songwriter sung by a well-known singer. The Pub is currently trying a variant of that formula, based on a record called ''Mostly Mercer'' on which some of the rich legacy of songs by Johnny Mercer are sung by a cast of 16 singers. At the Pub, that cast has been whittled down to three, two of whom -Nancy LaMott and Sara Krieger -were on the recording. They are joined by Ellen Foley and backed by a trio led by the pianist Kenny Werner as they sing a round robin of solos, a medley of Mercer's movie songs and several trio selections. In addition, each makes a pitch for the recording. Out of this melange, Miss Krieger emerges as the most convincing and versatile performer. She colors ''Midnight Sun'' with a sensitivity for the structure of Mercer's lyric, and shows a very different side on ''I Fought Every Step of the Way,'' a comedy song shared by all three singers but dominated by Miss Krieger's appropriate roundhouse delivery. To justify the word ''mostly'' in the title, the program includes one non-Mercer song - a charming song by George and Ira Gershwin, written in the late 1920's but forgotten until it was recently discovered by the pianist Michael Feinstein. Nancy LaMott sings it with such tenderness and warmth that it becomes the high point of the program."
"Gotham" (1987)
Douglas Bernstein and Denis Markell's "Gotham" was a musical comedy in which a small, English medieval town seeked fame by convincing the king to relocate his castle there. When the royals mixed with the common people of Gotham, all sorts of romantic entanglements and bizarre situations occured. It was directed by Ted Pappas with musical direction by David Evans. Douglas Bernstein is Ellen's husband.

The premiere of "Gotham" was at the Chester/The Norma Terris Theatre on 7 August 1987 and it closed on 31 August. The 21-member cast included Ray Wills (Big, Anna Karenina) as Sherman with Melanie Farrow (Off-Broadway's Americana) as Lucy, Ellen Foley as Nurse and Sam Tsoutsouvas (Anthony and Cleopatra at the Public Theatre, Our Country's Good) as King John. Also in the cast were Robert Bartley (Miss Saigon, Cats national tour), Michelle Blakely (Grease!, film of Twilight of the Golds), 10-year-old Morgan Firestone making her professional debut, Paul Stolarsky (My Favorite Year) and Goodspeed regular Ron Wisniski.
"Beautiful Bodies" (1987)
"Beautiful Bodies" by Laura Shaine Cunningham premiered at The Whole Theater (Montclair, NJ) in October 1987, with Olympia Dukakis as the Artistic Director. Ellen Foley portrayed Lisbeth, one of six women in the play, all in their thirties. The other actors were Karen Allen (Jessie), Maria Cellario (Nina), Caroline Aaron (Martha), Mia Dillon (Sue Carol), and Amy Van Nostrand (Claire).

In 2002 Laura Shaine Cunningham published her novel "Beautiful Bodies", based on the 1987 play. According to Laura Shaine Cunningham's own website: "This (novel) is a smart and sizzling take on single women's lives at the start of our uncertain twenty-first century. Inventively structured to take place in one night, BEAUTIFUL BODIES invites the reader to join the party. While a delirious debate rages over the guest of honor-Will passion or pragmatism prevail?-Everyone will identify with someone in the group-the hostess so distracted by her new love affair (How could she have forgotten sex? It had been three years, her longest intermission but still)... Lisbeth, who is so fragile, she poses for Zoloft ads, or Sue Carol, the professional wacktress (cross between a waitress and an actress) who knows she must leave her husband...tonight.... or Nina, who has taken leave for a few hours from her mother's apartment in the Bronx, and cannot eat the chocolate souffle cake she has baked for the occasion. Pitting Martha, the friend everyone loves to hate-a magnificent monster in an endangered species cape-against Claire, the soulful, unmarried mother-to-be whose 'income is less than her phone bill'-the battle rages as the dinner guests face off on the ultimate female choices."
"Me And My Girl" (1988)
[Me And My Girl] Ellen joined the "Me And My Girl" musical in the spring of 1988 at Marquis Theatre on Broadway, NY. This was a revival of a 1937 musical, directed by Mike Ockrent. Said Ellen: "Being part of the theater community is really vital. Actors feel most alive there. I believe that for New York performers, the theater is always at the core of their professional experience. The rush of the first Broadway production pretty much decides that. If you do it right, and you do it seriously, every performance is different. I did 'Me and My Girl' with Jim Dale for two years. After 150 shows, it still felt new every night! Of course, being a musical theater performer is like being an athlete. You have to take care of your instrument, or it might not be there on cue. It's a tremendous amount of pressure, but it's so exciting".

This musical tale about a cockney lad who inherits an earldom had book and lyrics by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber, and music by Noel Gay. Its original London production in 1937 ran four years; an enlarged, revised version began an even longer run in 1985. The musical was not seen in America until that West End production opened the new Marquis Theatre on Broadway in 1986 with its London star, Robert Lindsay. Its catchy songs, particularly "The Lambeth Walk," and its outrageous clowning marked a refreshing change from the solemnity of many contemporary musicals, and audiences kept it on the boards for 1,420 performances. Jim Dale succeeded Lindsay in the lead role of Bill in September 1987, and Ellen Foley replaced Maryann Plunkett as Bill's girlfriend Sally on 23 February 1988.
"The Cincinnati Saint" (1993)
The off-broadway play "The Cincinnati Saint" ran at Jewish Repertory Theater in New York from 23 October to 14 November 1993. It had music by Raphael Crystal and lyrics by Richard Engquist, and was based on the play "36," by Norman Lessing. The cast included Ellen Foley, Robert Ari, Gordon Greenberg, Jonathan Hadley, Steve Sterner and Kurt Ziskie.

Wilborn Hampton wrote in NY Times (9 November 1993): "The only thing to be said in defense of "The Cincinnati Saint," a new musical at the Jewish Repertory Theater by people who should know better, is that it's fairly short. The show, which clocks in under two hours, is about three Hasidim who show up at a Reform Temple in Cincinnati looking for a Lamed-Vavnik, 1 of the 36 men on earth who, according to Jewish legend, has such hidden goodness that God spares the human race. As it happens, the very man they're looking for is on a ladder repairing the lights in the temple's "Window of Heaven" and swearing like a sailor. Not to worry that he's a gentile, a Polish orphan raised a Roman Catholic. A song and a scene later, the Rebbe and his followers have convinced the electrician not only that he's a living saint but that he was actually born Jewish and given by his true parents to Catholics during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He dons a yarmulke and goes home to tell his pregnant wife the good news. If any of this sounds a little far-fetched, just wait till the second act. The audience returns from intermission to find the wife, a staunch Irish Catholic, also converting to Judaism. The crucifix on her kitchen wall is replaced by a portrait of the Rebbe, and her only concern is whether she should settle for Reform Judaism or go the whole nine yards of Orthodoxy. For the finale, she turns up at the temple, looking dazed and rolling her eyes, obviously possessed by a dybbuk. It's all sort of "Fiddler on the Roof" meets "The Exorcist." The songs, by Raphael Crystal with lyrics by Richard Engquist, sound a lot alike. One extols the miracle of the screwdriver; another ponders why God chose Adam's rib and not some other part of the anatomy to make a woman. The rhymes rely heavily on words like "O.K." and "oy." The cast is enthusiastic, but only Jonathan Hadley as the reform Rabbi and Robert Ari as the Orthodox Rebbe are even faintly convincing. Ran Avni's direction is unobtrusive."
"Mixed Nuts Roasting On An Open Fire" (1994)
During the 1994 Christmas season Ellen performed with her husband Derek Bernstein in "Mixed nuts roasting on an open fire", a La MaMa variety show created by Mary Fulham. The show also featured 5 Chinese Brothers (with Paul Foglino, later in Ellen Foley's band Dirty Old Men), Eva Mantell, Zora Rasmussen and Amy Sue Rosen.
"The Last Sweet Days" (1997)
[The Last Sweet Days] The off-Broadway musical "The Last Sweet Days" musical featured Ellen Foley, Willy Falk, Romain Fruge and Ellen Sowney and ran through April 1997 at St. Peter's Church. It was directed by Worth Gardner and comprised sections of two separate musicals by lyricist Gretchen Cryer and composer Nancy Ford. The first act came from their 1970 Off-Broadway hit "The Last Sweet Days Of Isaac", act two came from their Broadway musical, "Shelter".

"The Last Sweet Days" musical intended to run through 4 May 1997, but closed 20 April 1997 after 13 previews and 15 performances. Production spokesperson Kevin Rehac said the reason for the early closure was that, "With all the Broadway shows opening, this is a very difficult time of year for Off Broadway shows to eke out attention."

Original Cast Records made a CD available featuring most of the material from the "Shelter" section, plus a couple songs from "The Last Sweet Days of Isaac" part.

Anita Gates wrote in NY Times (15 April 1997): "In 1970, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac' seemed very 60's. (That was a compliment at the time.) Two total strangers, Isaac and Ingrid, stranded in an elevator, open up emotionally, discuss the importance of being vulnerable and take off their clothes. So in this new production, when Ingrid (Ellen Foley) bursts into her first song, 'My Most Important Moments,' about being-here-now, it could easily ring naive to the point of parody. But it doesn't. It conveys an intoxicating wistfulness, the yearning to experience life fully, a theme that did pretty well by another show of that season, 'Company.' As Isaac, Willy Falk can't compare to the manic young Austin Pendleton, who originated the role, but he makes an entertaining effort. 'The Last Sweet Days' is actually a hybrid revival: Act I is part of the aforementioned show, with book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer and music by Nancy Ford, and Act II is taken from the 1973 Cryer-Ford musical, 'Shelter.' 'Shelter,' described as 'kooky' in its day, makes no emotional connections but has some funny, pleasant moments and ought to get a prize for predicting the near future. Michael (Mr. Falk) lives agoraphobically in a kind of early virtual reality with a talking computer named Arthur who can produce romantic fires and starry nights on demand. Ingrid (Ms. Foley) is an actress who has a breakdown while doing a commercial about a cooking oil that also moisturizes your thighs. Michael seduces her and doesn't respect her the next morning. Ingrid and Michael's cleaning woman, Wednesday (Ellen Sowney), concludes that technology is as false as a man's promises and the two women leave."
"Loungeville, Vol. 1" (1997)
"Loungeville, Vol. 1: Music To Watch Girls By" was directed by Ted Pappas with Joe McGinty as musical director. It ran from 18 November to 6 December 1997 at Rainbow & Stars on Rockefeller Plaza.

Ellen Foley was joined by Linda Hart, Jessica Molaskey and Richard Muenz for an evening of 'cocktail-lounge music in the ideal setting - a cocktail lounge overlooking midtown Manhattan'. The revue performed hits by Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Ray Conniff and John Barry. The program covers everything from the James Bond theme songs to "The Pink Panther". Stephen Holden wrote in NY Times (22 November 1997): 'Without straining, "Loungeville, Vol. I," directed by Ted Pappas, treats Mr. Muenz as a musical 007 and Ms. Foley, Ms. Hart and Ms. Molaskey as Bond girls of varying musical stripes. Ms. Foley, the cast's most rock-oriented singer, belts a fervent Ronnie Spector-like "To Sir With Love"; Ms. Molaskey, who has a sweeter style, sings a plaintive version of "Downtown" and "Moon River." Ms. Hart, who has a gospel background, nearly stops the show with "Anyone Who Had a Heart." The most dramatic moment is Mr. Muenz's "Charade," which accelerates midway to a seething Latin-flavored number into which the singer pours real anger and confusion. ".
"The Mineola Twins" (1999)
Ellen was in the Roundabout Theater production of "The Mineola Twins" at the Laura Pels Theatre in New York in 1999, from 18 February to 30 May. This Off-Broadway production, directed by Joe Mantello, featured Swoozie Kurtz as Myra/Myrna, with Ellen Foley as her understudy. Mandy Siegfried played Kenny/Ben, and Mo Gaffney was Jim/Sarah. Said Ellen: "Everybody affects you as you go on, some people more than others. I've worked with a lot of great musicians and directors. Last year I was in 'The Mineola Twins' at the Roundabout. Paula Vogel, the playwright, is a Pulitzer Prize winner. She has a great intellectual spark, and made us feel good about what we were doing."

From the press release: "Swoosie Kurtz (The House of Blue Leaves, Fifth of July) stars as both Myrna and Myra, a pair of the most opposite identical twins you'll ever meet. The Mineola Twins follows their lives from the Eisenhower era all the way up to the Reagan-Bush years. Along the way, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) and director Joe Mantello (Love! Valour! Compassion!) present a witty and entertaining dissection of suburban womanhood."
"Femme Fatale" (2000)
The Overture Theatre Company, a Manhattan nonprofit devoted to developing new musicals, began rehearsals for a workshop of its first project, "Femme Fatale", on 7 February 2000 and 10 presentations of the tuner were scheduled for 23 February to 4 March 2000. The workshop of "Femme Fatale" was for industry people interested in the show or the company. It was performed at American Ballet Theatre studios, 890 Broadway at 19th Street.

Barry Harman wrote "Femme Fatale" with Keith Herrmann. It was a rewrite of "Haunted Hotel" and featured an all-female cast, including Anne Bobby, Mindy Cooper, Ellen Foley, Teri Gibson, Priscilla Lopez, Cindy Marchionda, Jan Maxwell, Janet Metz, Christiane Noll, Darcy Pulliam, Sara Ramirez and Natalie Toro. The "radical creative change" of an all-women cast, with actresses playing the male and female roles, was chosen in fall 1999, a year after the script was staged (as The Haunted Hotel) with a coed, professional cast at Cazenovia College, near Syracuse.
"Hercules in High Suburbia" (2004)
[Hercules in High Suburbia] Ellen Foley starred in "Hercules in High Suburbia", a new musical adaptation of Euripides's Heracles that was playing at LaMama during April/May 2004. It was written and directed by Mary Fulham, with original songs by Paul Foglino. Fulham is the artistic director of Watson Arts, a resident company at La MaMa. Paul Foglino is also guitarist and band leader in Ellen's (rock n roll) backing band "The Dirty Old Men". The cast included Ellen Foley (Megara), Postell Pringle (Hercules), Hal Blankenship (Zeus), Neal Young (Lycus, Theseus) and Dana Vance (Madness).

"Hercules in High Suburbia" is set in a gated community where wealth and fame are no guarantee against the power of wickedness or the malevolence of chance. While the play is inspired by the ancient Greek tragedy, the music flows from the spirit and style of the 1950s, the moment when Delta blues became rock and roll.

TeaterMania.com wrote (15 April 2004): "Foley, a former rock star, TV star (Night Court), and Broadway leading lady (Beehive, Me and My Girl), has worked rather infrequently over the past 15 years; instead, she has been focusing on her husband and two sons, ages 13 and 10. Why return to the stage now? "Mary Fulham, who is an old friend and former collaborator, wrote this piece for me," she explains. "Which means I didn't have to go through the terror of auditioning." According to Foley, there are many similarities between her and her character Megara, Hercules' wife. "Some of the dialogue is taken directly from my own life, like screaming at my two sons to get off the computer," she says. "When we first started working on the piece, Megara was a little too much like Susie Essman's character on Curb Your Enthusiasm, so we decided to tone her down a little. When Hercules does come home, you get to see her softer side." That's fine with Foley since she also gets to play Iris, one of the aptly named Furies who pay a visit to Hercules. "I get to do a Zoe Caldwell thing," she tells me. "In fact, Iris reminds me of the Witch from Into The Woods, which I did on Broadway. I just love playing those scenery-chewing characters!" (Pictured above right, Ellen Foley and Postell Pringle courtesy of David Gersten & Associates)

"Hercules in High Suburbia" was also performed at the New York International Fringe Festival in Aug 2005.
I need information about the following shows, plus any others I may have missed. Thanks in advance!

  • 'Sophia Equals Wisdom Part 2' [alternative title is 'Sophia = (Wisdom) Part 2']. Written by Richard Foreman (1973)
  • 'These Sunglasses Belonged to Roy Orbison' at LaMama (1986)
  • 'Slow Dance With a Hot Pick-Up' (2011)