3hree, the trio of one-act musicals embraced in its November 2000 Philadelphia world premiere and in its spring 2001 run in Los Angeles, remains in a holding pattern regarding its Broadway plans. After its highly-acclaimed PA debut, the show appeared to be on the fast track for a Broadway run. The elements never quite came together, however, and Brad Rouse, a director of one of the mini-musicals and assistant to director producer Harold Prince, now says there are "no current plans to bring the show to New York in any form at the moment.
"We certainly haven't abandoned the project," continued Rouse, "and we've had inquiries from other regionals and from London. Our production supervisor is following those leads, and we certainly are ready to go as far as costumes, sets and the cast. Overall, for something that started as such an experiment, it's been an incredibly positive experience. Every step past the first reading was basically icing on the cake."
Legendary director Prince (Evita, Sweeney Todd, Fiddler on the Roof) staged only The Flight of the Lawnchair Man, a comic look at man's desire to fly. Robert Lindsay Nassif and Peter Ullian penned the piece, about an average fellow who hopes to soar by attaching hot air balloons to his lawnchair. Also on the bill of 3hree are the ironic The Mice, by Laurence O'Keefe, Nell Benjamin and Julia Jordan, directed by Brad Rouse (who has served as assistant to Hal Prince since 1995); and John Bucchino and James Waedekin's ghost story Lavender Girl, with Scott Schwartz (York Theatre's No Way to Treat a Lady and Broadway's Jane Eyre) directing. The choreographer is Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Paper Mill Playhouse's Pippin).
For their part, Nassif and Ullian are working on a full-length project, also being developed by Prince. "We're working fast and furious," Nassif told Playbill On-Line July 30, "and we hope to have readings soon." Prince's other upcoming projects include a new play, Hollywood Arms by Carol Burnett and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, to open at Chicago's Goodman in fall 2002.
* "I thought 3hree would be a very speedy way of introducing a lot of talented people to an audience," Prince said, talking to Playbill On-Line last year. "To put on a new, full-length show takes a lot of time. To create a show that is 2 hours 20 minutes would take me three years. I'm a slow worker! Instead, I said why not find three one-act musicals. I would work on one, two other guys would take the other two, and we could do it in a year. And we have. I consider ourselves lucky. These are three one-act musicals, and they dovetail in a nice way — although I didn't plan it that way. I didn't put on too many restrictions. But I did say we won't do them on a unit set. Each show deserves its own vision and overture. And I wanted all nine [cast members] in all three of them."
Discussing how he came to choose the teams of artists working on this production, Prince said, "A year ago this past summer I started to put the word out. I approached two men that I kind of mentored, Robert Lindsey Nasiff and Peter Ullian, and said, "I'd like to work with you. Would you get an idea for a one-act musical?" And they did. A wonderful new composer, John Bucchino, who is very popular, had written Urban Myths, which was a collection of eight one-act musicals. My daughter Daisy had said to me that there's one that would work really well in an evening of one-acts. That was Lavender Girl. So we approached him and he did more re writing, fleshed it out some and now it stands on its own.
"We got many, many ideas presented. There were some ideas that I didn't think that highly of, but these [selected ones] are very strong. We spent last year developing them and held a reading at the Director's Company last May. The reading went awfully well, I think. Marjorie came to see it and said 'Let's do it.'"
— By David Lefkowitz