The deal to tour Paula Abdul toward Broadway as one of the musical theatre's most indelible characters, Sweet Charity, has fallen through for 1999-2000, but producers are planning to rethink and recast for 2000-2001, according to producing partner Alan Lichtenstein.
The national tour starring pop singer-dancer Abdul, under the direction of Bob Fosse trouper Wayne Cilento, was to begin July 13 in Green Bay, WI., followed by 40 weeks in 20-25 markets. The show was hoping to end up on Broadway.
Lichtenstein told Playbill On-Line April 19 the tour is "postponed," despite the fact that big hitters like Neil Simon and Cy Coleman had revised the 1966 musical comedy inspired by Fellini's Nights of Cabiria. The producers hoped to streamline the book and score of the dance-driven Bob Fosse-created show to about 2 hours and 25 minutes, Lichtenstein said, adding that original book writer Simon had come in to revise and Coleman had considered editing the score, which he wrote with late lyricist Dorothy Fields.
The show's standout numbers are "Big Spender," "Where Am I Going," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "The Rhythm of Life" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This."
Among those putting together the tour are Lichtenstein, Greg Young, Bob Young and Rich Martini. Abdul was to choreograph, with Fosse veteran Cilento. Lichtenstein said "we're disappointed" we "couldn't put a deal together at this time."
Abdul, who got her start as an Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader, had a string of hits in the late '80s and early '90s, including "Forever Your Girl," "Cold Hearted Snake," "Straight Up," and "Rush." Apart from music videos and commercials, she possesses few acting credits, though she has choreographed several films, including "The Doors," "Big," and "Coming to America."
Cilento is known for his choreography of the Broadway shows The Who's Tommy , How to Succeed... and Dream.
Sony Classical-Columbia Broadway Masterworks will re-release the 1966 original cast album of Sweet Charity, starring Gwen Verdon, May 4. The disc includes additional material not previously released, including "The Heavyweight" sequence from "Rich Man's Frug," alternate takes of "I Love to Cry at Weddings," tracks of Coleman singing three songs from the show, plus interviews surrounding the Broadway opening.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson