LAS VEGAS -- Guest director Alexander Chrestopoulos, Producing/Managing Director of Theatre at the University of North Texas, will direct George and Ira Gershwin's musical extravaganza "Crazy for You" at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as the closing production of University Theatre's 1999-2000season. Ed Brazo, Associate Professor of Dance at Northwestern State University, is guest choreographer.

Performances are at 8 p.m. April 28, 29, and May 5 and 6 with a 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30 performance, and two matinees at 2 p.m. April 30 and May 7. This Gershwin musical is a piece of Americana that is both entertaining and uplifting. The show features such memorable songs as "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Embraceable You," "I Got Rhythm," "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It."

"Ed Brazo, the choreographer and I have become a team," according to Chrestopoulos. "Ed and I met in New York City when we were doing dinner theater tours. He was doing 'Gypsy' and I was doing 'Oliver'. He ended up doing 'Gypsy' on Broadway with Angela Lansbury. Ten years later I was directing at McLeod Summer Playhouse and his name came up. I said let's get him up here. We've subsequently worked together on 'Fiddler on the Roof', 'Chorus Line', and 'My Fair Lady'.

"This is a family show and there are very few family-oriented events that you can go to these days," explains Chrestopoulos. "For people who haven't been exposed to tap dancing much there is a lot of flashy tap dancing, beautiful costumes, and an outstanding orchestra." Chrestopoulos is not a newcomer to the Las Vegas scene. In 1991 he directed "Dames at Sea" in the premiere season of Spring Mountain Ranch. His directing credits include the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and, at the opposite end of the country, the Hilton Head Playhouse. At the Arizona Theatre Company he worked with Joanna Gleason, winner of a Tony Award for "Into the Woods." As director of Starlight Musicals he worked with Charles Nelson Reilly, Shanni Wallace and Bill Hayes from the TV show "Days of Our Lives." His opera credits include both the Arizona Opera Company and the San Diego Opera Company.

"Crazy for You" is a remake by Ken Ludwig, author of "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Moon Over Buffalo," along with Mike Ockerent of the original show "Girl Crazy."

"However, with the exception of George Gershwin's music and Ira's lyrics it's entirely different," says Chrestopoulos. "It is not just a delightful 1930s musical where boy meets girl, spreads goodness and ultimately fall in love. It is also the charming story of a clash of two cultures that come together and change in a mutually positive way. "You have," Chrestopoulos points out, "fast-paced out-of-towners from New York versus the laid-back style of the old west."

The film version of "Girl Crazy" was made with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in 1943. The original musical provided Ginger Rogers in 1930 with her first starring role on Broadway. As successful as she was, it was not Ginger Rogers who became the show-stopper forever associated with the song "I Got Rhythm" but a 21-year-old, ex-secretary from Astoria, named Ethel Agnes Zimmermann known to the world today as Ethel Merman. When she belted out "I Got Rhythm" it made "Girl Crazy" and made history.

Chrestopoulos says he is "very excited and pleased by the level of talent displayed by the students here. The cast is really looking forward to the opening of the show."

The University Theatre musical production has Bobby Child, played by Clayton Chauvin, being sent from New York after the closing of the Zangler Follies, to close a theater in Deadrock, Nevada. There he meets and falls in love with Polly Baker, played by Janelle M. Lannan. Since Bobby does not want to lose Polly by foreclosing on the theater, he comes up with the brilliant idea of staging a musical in order to get enough money to pay off the mortgage.

Others in the cast include Steven Biggs as Bela Zangler, Stephen Reyes as Lank Hawkins, Polly's other suitor; Kara Buhrley as Irene, Jill Michael as Patricia Fodor and Susanne Burns as the mother. Others in the cast are Robert Jarrett, Alain Gaillard, John T. Woods, Stephanie Ervin, Tara Gray, Micha Stevens, Mindy Throne, Alix Snyder, Cirese Gittens, Debra Bryson, Candice Martin, Traci Petrini, John Petrini, Michael Kennedy, Adam Kilbourn, Julian Ho Ting Lam, Brendon Williams, Ben Cubbedge, Cole Price, and Andrew Kaempfer.

The UNLV Symphony Orchestra will be directed by George Stelluto. "Alex is truly a pleasure to work with; visionary yet organized, artistic yet professional. What more could one ask for?" says Stelluto, music director of both the UNLV Symphony Orchestra and the Las Vegas Music Festival.

Stelluto has appeared with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Connecticut String Orchestra, Yale School of Music, the Aspen School and Festival and the Wieniawaski String Orchestra in Poland. He recently conducted the premiere of the orchestral version of Virko Baley's "Klytemnestra" on UNLV Chamber Music Southwest series. This coming season he will make his debut with the Lodz Philharmonic in Poland. The pit orchestra that Gershwin conducted on the opening night 70 years ago included Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, and Red Nichols.

Set design is by John Santangelo with costumes by Georgia Richardson, lighting design by Sandra Fong and sound design by Andrew Duckworth. Tickets, may be purchased at the UNLV Performing Arts Box Office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787), TDD (702)895-4717. The Performing Arts Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.