At Wit's End
Book and Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
Music by Michael Duff
It's 1929, and the members of the famed Round Table are performing a play in the lobby of New York's Algonquin Hotel to commemorate the tenth anniversary of their first luncheon there.
Acting as a Greek chorus, the Round Tablers present At Wit's End, the story of how New York Times theatre critic Alexander Woollcott's love for Jane Grant and rivalry with her husband Harold Ross provided an essential spark to the birth of The New Yorker magazine. The artists, celebrities, and wits of the Round Table (Frank Adams, Tallulah Bankhead, Robert Benchley, Marc Connelly, Edna Ferber, Helen Hayes, George Kaufman and Dorothy Parker) portray themselves, and assume the various small roles (as Tallulah says, "the little people, darling") that play into the story.
Cheryl Coons (Book and Lyrics) has co-written more than a dozen musicals which have received professional productions, including At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), River’s End (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Original Script and Best Original Score), Sylvia’s Real Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), Female Problems (After Dark Award for Best Music and Lyrics), and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theater International. Her work has appeared on the stages of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Florida Stage, Marin Theatre Company, Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and Pegasus Theatre. A revue of her work, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda: The Lyrics of Cheri Coons was produced at the Royal George Theater,and was honored as one of Chicago’s 10 Best Cabaret Shows of the year by Cabaret Scenes magazine, Gay Chicago, and Cabaret Online. Her original novelty songs have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and NPR’S Morning Edition, and her lyrics have been quoted in The New York Times and USA Today. Her songs have been performed and/or recorded by cabaret artists including Tom Anderson, McKinley Carter, Joan Curto, Sara Davis, Sharon McKnight, Lisa Menninger, Beckie Menzie, Tom Michael, Bob Mason, Stephen Rader, and Kat’ Taylor. Cheri has appeared with collaborator Beckie Menzie at Carnegie Hall, performing their original material in an evening hosted by Michael Feinstein. A fixture in the Chicago Cabaret scene since the 1980’s, she was a founding member of the acclaimed vocal trio, The Pumps, and appeared as a featured soloist in many Chicago venues, including the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel and the Metropole at the Fairmont Hotel. Visit Cheryl Coons.com for more.
Michael Duff (Music) has written four musicals which have received professional productions, most recently At Wit's End, which received Florida's 2001 Carbonell Award for Best New Work. He was the recipient of Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for Musical Direction for his work on Female Problems, to which he also contributed a number of songs, sharing Chicago's After Dark Award for the music and lyrics. He composed the score for Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theater International, and Ms. Cinderella, produced at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theater. Listed in Who's Who of Entertainment, Mr. Duff has been musical director/conductor for over 80 different productions, including the third national tour of Les Miserables, the national tour of Nunsense with Dody Goodman, and Peter Pan, with Cathy Rigby, tours of 42nd Street, Bob Fosse's Dancin', West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof, with Theodore Bikel. From 1981 to 1988 he was Musical Supervisor and Staff Arranger for the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre, and was Musical Director at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre from 1991-1996, He performed on Broadway as The City Editor in The News.
Song samples from At Wit's End
Music by Michael Duff
Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
Man of the Hour
Wherever You Are Is Home
Talk of the Town