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The Show That Won't Quit

Date: Jan 26, 2007


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It's the great idea that won't die—or won't quit, at least. Don't Quit Your Night Job, the late-night musical sketch show that's like a live-theatre version of Saturday Night Live with Broadway talent, returns for a special show at the Zipper Theatre  March 17 11:30PM (ticket info here).

The popular ongoing series of late-night shows began at Joe's Pub, then had an uptown run at HA! Comedy Club last spring. Combining sketch comedy, musical numbers, improv games, backstage anecdotes and, of course, a prize raffle, the popular show is the brainchild of actor Sarah Saltzberg (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), two musical theatre colleagues, Steve Rosen (Spamalot) and David Rossmer (Fiddler on the Roof), and music director/pianist Dan Lipton (The Coast of Utopia).

"It's fish out of water," Saltzberg explains of the show's concept, in which multitalented performers from Broadway and Off-Broadway get to strut some of their lesser-seen talents. "You get to see people out of context. You'd never think you would see Kelli O'Hara doing improv, for instance," says Saltzberg of the Pajama Game star, who appeared at one show last fall. At the December installment, pop star Huey Lewis, then appearing in Chicago, gamely sang his 1980s hit "The Power of Love" as a musical "mad lib," with some choice lyrics replaced by audience suggestions. Scheduled for Dec. 20 are Hank Azaria

It's all fun and games onstage, but behind the scenes, "Don't Quit Your Night Job" has a serious purpose: supporting TDF's Open Doors program. Founded in 1998 by playwright Wendy Wasserstein and TDF, Open Doors matches distinguished theatre and dance professionals with small groups of high school students for a school-year-length intensive introduction to theatre. The association with Open Doors came naturally for Saltzberg, who worked as a part-time nanny for Wasserstein's child, Lucy Jane, until the playwright's untimely death last year.

"I knew it was something that was important to her, and to me this benefit is another way to renew her legacy," Saltzberg says of Wasserstein, to whom she became close personally as well as professionally and who helped hook up the creators of the original Spelling Bee with Broadway composer William Finn. "Wendy was always so selfless, and Open Doors seems to me such a perfect example of what Wendy meant to the world."

In addition to the Dec. 20 show, another is scheduled for the Zipper on Jan. 17 at 11:30. Check here for updates.

Pictured in banner at top: David Rossmer, Sarah Saltzberg, Dan Lipton and Steve Rosen. Pictured in body of story, top: Sarah Saltzberg and David Rossmer; middle: Stephen Lynch; bottom: Hank Azaria. Photos 1-3 by Craig Brockman, photo 4 by Ben Strothmann, courtesy of

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