Urinetown News from Playbill-on-line


The tour, which also spotlights Beth McVey as Miss Pennywise and Meghan Strange as Little Sally, launches June 24-July 27 in a regional theatre setting — San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre — before traveling the country, spreading the satiric tale of a drought-stricken city where water usage is controlled by an evil corporation.

Opening is July 1. This marks the West Coast premiere of the Broadway show, which many consider the funniest musical comedy this side of The Producers.

Hewitt might be best known as Frank N Furter from the recent Broadway production of The Rocky Horror Show (for which he was Tony-nominated). He takes on the role of the oily narrator of Urinetown, Officer Lockstock.

The musical won three major Tony Awards in 2002: Best Book (Greg Kotis), Best Score (Kotis and Mark Hollmann) and Best Direction of a Musical (John Rando).

Holgate often cuts an elegant figure in shows, and he'll be "clad well" again. He won the Tony for playing American patriot Richard Henry Lee in the musical, 1776. His credits include Lend Me a Tenor and the recent Annie Get Your Gun.

Noll starred as Emma in Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde. Pollock comes from Broadway's Urinetown, where he played rebel Bobby Strong after original star Hunter Foster left for Little Shop of Horrors.

McVey was a member of the original companies of The Phantom of the Opera and 42nd Street.

The company also includes Katie Adams (Soupy Sue), Anne Allgood (Josephine Strong), Jim Corti (Old Man Strong/Hot Blades Harry), Frank Holmes (Billy Boy Bill), Todd A. Horman (Robbie the Stockfish), Dennis Kelly (Senator Fipp), Jamie Laverdiere (Mr. McQueen), Richard Ruiz (Officer Barrel) Sheri Sanders (Little Becky Two Shoes/Mrs. Millennium), Meghan Strange (Little Sally) and Christopher Youngsman (Dr. Billeaux).

Reprising their Broadway chores, John Rando directs, John Carrafa choreographs and the Broadway design team remain intact: Scott Pask (sets), Gregory A. Gale and Jonathan Bixby (costumes) and Brian MacDevitt (lighting).

Tour stops following ACT's production include Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland.

The national tour of Urinetown, The Musical, is made possible in part by producers The Araca Group and Dodger Stage Holding with TheatreDreams, Lauren Mitchell, and American Conservatory Theater.

The darkly satiric musical with the most unlikely title on Broadway was first seen in 1999 at the New York International Fringe Festival, where commercial producers plucked it up and the writers refined it toward an Off Broadway run in summer 2001, and then to a Broadway move in September 2001.

The staging continues at Broadway's Henry Miller Theatre, with TV star Tom Cavanagh starring as Bobby.

The show is currently being developed for the movies by The Araca Group and Killer Films.

Tickets for Urinetown, The Musical at ACT range $16-$66 and can be purchased at the Geary Theater Box Office, located at 405 Geary Street. Call (415) 749-2228 or visit www.act sf.org.


Boys from Syracus - Ken Mandelbum


Preview #3: He Had Twins

by Ken Mandelbaum



While Rodgers and Hart's 1938 success The Boys from Syracuse has never before been revived on Broadway, it had an acclaimed, delightful off-Broadway mounting at Theatre Four in 1963 that lasted over 500 performances (more than twice the run of the original) in the days when off-Broadway could afford a cast of more than 20. It's possible to imagine that librettist George Abbott did some rewriting to adjust the show to the more intimate venue. And while the songs were the same as in the original, "Oh, Diogenes" was taken from Luce and reassigned to the Courtesan, probably to give the always wonderful Cathryn Damon a full number. A comparison of the '38 tunestack to that of the '63 production also indicates that the first act finale went from "Let Antipholus In" (preserved on the Encores! recording of Syracuse) to a "Ladies Choice" ballet. (Four years after the off-Broadway Syracuse, the final Rodgers and Hart show, By Jupiter, was revived at Theatre Four, directed by Syracuse stager Christopher Hewett; the production wasn't a success, but the RCA cast recording merits CD reissue.)

But the changes to the material for the '63 revival are obviously minor compared to the radically altered Syracuse Broadway is getting beginning tonight, with a new book by Nicky Silver based on Abbott's; the songs "You Took Advantage of Me" (Present Arms), "A Lady Must Live" (America's Sweetheart) and "Ev'rything I've Got" (By Jupiter) interpolated from other Rodgers and Hart shows; and apparently a couple of numbers at least partly reassigned.

True, Rodgers and Hart theatre songs tend to be less profoundly allied to the characters for which they were written than, say, those of Rodgers and Hammerstein, so shifting some of them around from show to show isn't out of the question. I've always considered The Boys from Syracuse to feature one of Rodgers and Hart's strongest scores, the sort of collection not in need of outside assistance. But with a new book, the need for interpolated material no doubt become more pronounced.

Some observers are appalled at the rewrites now regularly in evidence in musical revivals, alterations extending even to classics like My Fair Lady and South Pacific. Such changes can be disconcerting, making one sometimes wonder why producers or directors would wish to mount a show they consider so imperfect as to require extensive revision. But if one is to continue to attend revivals, one must make the best of it, keeping an open mind and hoping that what has been done to the piece is at least in the spirit of the original and plays well.

And it must be admitted that The Boys from Syracuse is no My Fair Lady: The original Abbott book is a professionally assembled, high quality collection of low-comedy gags fashioned around the plot of The Comedy of Errors and created for a pair of stage clowns: As the textbooks will tell you, the impetus for the show was the fact that Lorenz Hart's brother, Teddy, bore a strong resemblance to another comic performer, Jimmy Savo, thus suggesting Shakespeare's play about twins.

What has always given Syracuse its distinction is, of course, its score, with songs like "Falling in Love With Love," "The Shortest Day of the Year," and "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea" punctuating the farcical antics with an unexpected emotional depth. While Encores!' 1997 Syracuse mounting featured a book adaptation by David Ives (co-librettist of the forthcoming Dance of the Vampires), it was carried by the music, presented in its original orchestration and without cuts or interpolations. It was one of the best of the Encores! series, which might pose a problem for the Broadway revival (the Times's Ben Brantley loved it, and he hasn't loved such Roundabout musical revivals as Company and Follies).

Staging the revised Syracuse is Scott Ellis, who hasn't had luck with new Broadway musicals (Steel Pier, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), but who made his reputation with revivals before going on to such recent straight plays as The Waverly Gallery and The Man Who Had All the Luck. While Ellis's musical revivals (Company, She Loves Me, and 1776 for Roundabout, A Little Night Music and 110 in the Shade for New York City Opera) have tended to feature at least some alteration to the material, most of them haven't been radical revisals, with the exception of the show that first brought him to local attention, the Vineyard's 1987 Flora, the Red Menace, with a new book by David Thompson.

Rob Ashford, the unexpected winner of the 2002 Tony for his Thoroughly Modern Millie choreography, is staging the dances for the new Syracuse, and thus working again with Erin Dilly, who plays Luciana, and almost got to play Millie at La Jolla. It will be interesting to see if much of an attempt is made to make the two Antipholuses (Tom Hewitt and Jonathan Dokuchitz) and the two Dromios (Lee Wilkof and Chip Zien) look like sets of twins. Also noteworthy is that one of the leading ladies, Lauren Mitchell, is co-producer of two other current Broadway productions, Urinetown and Into the Woods (Mitchell was in the original 1987 cast of the latter).

As of now, this Syracuse is a subscription run scheduled only through October 20 at the American Airlines Theatre. With all of the alterations and new material, it's hard to predict how it will play; the show's previous New York returns were happy occasions, and one hopes the same will be true of the latest incarnation. Still ahead, of course, is the new Flower Drum Song, an even more radical Rodgers revisal.


Tom Hewitt to Star in The Boys From Syracuse

Tony nominee Tom Hewitt will star in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Boys From Syracuse, a source close to the actor confirmed to Broadway.com. The revival of the Rodgers & Hart tuner is scheduled to begin performances at the American Airlines Theater in July.

Ken Mandelbaum first mentioned Hewitt as a possibility for the production on January 30. Hewitt earned a Tony nomination for his performance as Frank 'N' Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. His other Broadway credits include The Sisters Rosensweig, The School for Scandal, Art and The Lion King. Off-Broadway credits include Jeffrey, Beau Gest, Richard III and Othello. The actor starred in the La Jolla Playhouse production of Dracula and is expected to repeat his duties in the planned Broadway mounting.

Based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, The Boys From Syracuse tells the tale of two sets of identical twins and the women who can't tell them apart. The Roundabout production, directed by Scott Ellis, will use a new book by Nicky Silver based on George Abbott's original book.

A production spokesperson could not confirm the fact that Hewitt was committed, saying no deal with the actor has been set.

-Cara Joy David, Broadway.com


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that ensues, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE features a new book by renowned

playwright Nicky Silver, inspired staging by Scott Ellis (The Man Who Had

All the Luck, The Rainmaker, 1776) and one of Richard Rodgers' most glorious


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Dracula Books Broadway Theatre for Spring Bow

Dracula, the Musical has not yet begun previews at California's La Jolla Playhouse, but producers are already looking towards New York. According to The New York Times, the musical has booked the Broadway Theatre for a spring debut on the Great White Way.

Dracula, The Musical is based on Bram Stoker's classic novel. The new tuner features music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. "I just love the gothic world," Wildhorn told Broadway.com while working on Dracula. "It's very sexy to me and it's very romantic to me. Dracula was just screaming to have a musical made out of it and I am doing it."

Jane Eyre -- Paper Mill Playhouse  



"Tom Hewitt is sensational. Here is a wonderful actor perhaps born 50 or so years too late and in the wrong country. Those British movie melodramas of the '40s would have made Hewitt an International star, more Stewart Granger perhaps than James Mason, but certainly Hollywood bound. New York Post

Vanya -- Arena Stage

"Hewitt gives Astrov such a physical presence that you have only to look at him to understand what a tragedy his wasted life is. Hewitt makes the doctor intelligent, honest with himself and resigned, with periodic bursts of high spirits that must have once been characteristic of him." Washington Post

Blithe Spirit -- Guthrie Theatre

"Tom Hewitt's Charles combines suave charm, boyish befuddlement and infallible comic timing." Twincities Sidewalk

Death on the Nile -- Shakespeare Theatre

"Tom Hewitt makes a vital, intelligent, humorous Antony." Washington Post

Antony and Cleopatra -- Shakespeare Theatre

"In the role of Antony, Tom Hewitt makes for a strong counterpart to Cleopatra, with his resonant voice and decisive stage movements. His reaction to the trumped-up news of Cleopatra's death was a particularly impressive rendering, as was his own subsequent death scene. The role of Antony require a highly demanding duality of interpretation: One that shows his commanding presence among the triumbirate in Rome, and another for his scenes of hedonistic dalliance with the naughty seductress of the Nile. Mr. Hewitt conveys both with skill, though some excess of rage in the later scenes seems to obscure any spiritual awakening there may be been for this hubris-tormented soul." Review by Richard Gist -- December 8, 1996


The Official Tom Hewitt Page
Tom Hewitt Offical Site.



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