In the theater, a “put-in’’ is a rehearsal designed to help a new or returning cast member fit into a show that’s already running.
In New York for the past couple of weeks, Broadway veterans Rachel York and Brent Barrett have been rehearsing to put themselves back into their long-running onstage relationship. York and Barrett appear at the Robinson Theatre in Waltham on Sunday for a concert called “Isn’t It Romantic?’’
“It’s basically a little reunion concert for the two of us,’’ Barrett says.
It’s also, York says, a chance for her to have “a lot of fun singing my favorite love songs, and singing them with someone who’s just a great joy to sing with.’’
The concert features the duo performing familiar love songs from stage, screen, and the Great American Songbook, separately and together. Expect plenty of Cole Porter, including “You’re the Top’’ and “I Get a Kick out of You,’’ plus classics such as “Anything You Can Do,’’ “My Funny Valentine,’’ and “Someone to Watch Over Me.’’ Pianist Eugene Gwozdz is music director and accompanist for the program.
The content of the concert, Barrett says, is “like most Broadway shows. There’s always a love story, there’s people coming together, and then they fight and they break up and they get back together.’’
The newest material might be the Burt Bacharach medley, but to York, the retro fare is in keeping with current musical fashion. “Think about Michael Bublé, one of the most popular artists out there, singing standards,’’ she says. “Everything old is new again.’’
York and Barrett’s highest-profile gig together occurred a decade ago, when they costarred in the West End production of “Kiss Me, Kate,’’ which was filmed for “Great Performances’’ and is available on DVD. But their friendship goes back much farther.
“We both volunteered to sing for HIV-positive patients at a New York hospital,’’ York recalls. “It must have been around 1988. It was wonderful to do that, but I remember it being a little sad, too. So it was nice to bring a little fresh air to that wing of the hospital.’’
They remained friends as both found success on Broadway. They sang together at a few benefits, but never in a show until York took over as Barrett’s costar in “Kiss Me, Kate’’ in London. That led to them costarring in “Anything Goes’’ at Reprise Theatre Company in Los Angeles later in 2002.
In Massachusetts, York has won Independent Reviewers of New England awards for her performances in “Hello, Dolly!’’ and “Into the Woods’’ at the Reagle. She has also hit Boston on national tours of “Kiss Me, Kate’’ and other shows. Barrett starred in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’’ at the Cape Playhouse and North Shore Music Theatre.
They haven’t worked together lately, each pursuing their own stage and concert careers. York is also busy raising her 1-year-old daughter, Olivia.
Barrett says that sooner or later he’ll face a “put-in’’ to return to the Broadway cast of “Chicago,’’ once again playing Billy Flynn. “I’ve been in and out of the show for 12 years now,’’ he says. “I just did four weeks on Broadway over the holidays. I call it my day job.’’
Barrett and York both say they were happy for the chance not only to work together on the Waltham concert but also to support the nonprofit Reagle and its founder and executive producer, Robert J. Eagle.
“I want to do my part to help great theaters like the Reagle to stay alive,’’ says York. “I admire Bob Eagle tremendously for his passion and tenacity to keep the Reagle alive and well in this economy.’’
New Rep, Gamm seasons
The 2012-13 theater schedule is filling out.
In Watertown, the New Repertory Theatre will open its 29th season, its first under incoming artistic director Jim Petosa, with “The Kite Runner,’’ Matthew Spangler’s play about Afghanistan, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, running Sept. 9-30 in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts.
Other main-stage productions for the New Rep are the Boston premiere of David Mamet’s comedy “Race,’’ Oct. 14-Nov. 4; “Marry Me a Little,’’ a revue with songs by Stephen Sondheim, Jan. 6-27, 2013; “Master Class’’ by Terrence McNally, March 31-April 21, 2013; and Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus,’’ directed by Petosa, April 28-May 19, 2013. In the Black Box Theater, the company will offer “Chesapeake,’’ a comedy by Lee Blessing, Nov. 25-Dec. 16, and “Lungs,’’ a comedy by Duncan Macmillan, Feb. 17-March 10, 2013. Both are Boston premieres.
The company will, as usual, offer dual holiday productions. “Holiday Memories,’’ adapted by Russell Vandenbroucke from short stories by Truman Capote, plays the main stage Dec. 9-23. “Fully Committed,’’ the comedy by Becky Mode, plays the Black Box Dec. 19-30. Subscriptions are now on sale, and single tickets will be available in early August. Information: 617-923-8487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few miles to the south, the US premiere of “Anne Boleyn,’’ British dramatist Howard Brenton’s play about the life and legacy of Henry VIII’s second wife, tops the 2012-13 schedule of Pawtucket’s Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, announced this week. Also on the bill are Amy Herzog’s “After the Revolution,’’ John Logan’s 2010 Tony Award winner “Red,’’ Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing,’’ and Martin McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.’’ Subscriptions are on sale now at 401-723-4266 and www.gammtheatre.org. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 1.Joel Brown can be reached at email@example.com.