The current workshop of Australia's hit musical, The Boy from Oz, which began in New York City on April 8 and continues to May 5, will likely lead to a Broadway bow this time next year.
A spokesman for the show confirmed that producers Ben Gannon and Robert Fox will bring the Peter Allen musical to Broadway in spring 2003. An out-of-town tryout will possibly precede the NYC debut.
The cast of the workshop features many names that have been circulating for weeks. As previously announced, Hugh Jackman is the lead role of entertainer Peter Allen. Britisher Ruthie Henshall (Putting It Together, Chicago) is Liza Minnelli, Allen's one-time wife. Isabel Keating is Liza's mother, Judy Garland. Patti Allison plays Marion Woolnough and Mitchel David Federan is the Boy.
Also in the cast are Leslie Alexander, Patti Allison, Todd Anderson, Christopher Freeman, Colleen Hawks, Adam Karsten, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Shannon Lewis (Fosse), Matt Loehr, Mark Manley, Brian J. Marcum, Michael Mulheren (Kiss Me, Kate), Ben Sheaffer, Jeff Skowron, Lynn Sterling and Kellyanne Wilson.
The book is be Martin Sherman. Philip Wm. McKinley is the director. Choreographer Joey McKneely will provide the fancy footwork. Louis St. Louis is the musical director. The Australian production of The Boy from Oz ran two years and starred Todd McKenney as Allen. Variety called that production "Australia's first homegrown large-scale tuner in a decade."
Back in March 1998, Ben Gannon and Robert Fox, the producers of Peter Allen, the Boy from Oz, were making plans to bring the show to Broadway that spring in a $4.5 million production directed by Gale Edwards.
The show is a musical biography of the late entertainer who was a protege of Judy Garland (and who was briefly married to Liza Minnelli). It received strongly positive reviews when it opened March 5, 1998 at Her Majesty's Theatre Sydney. Nick Enright penned the musical's original book, though since fall 2001, Martin Sherman, of Bent and A Madhouse in Goa note, has been the project's librettist, according to a spokesperson at the William Morris Agency.
McKneely first came to attention with his work in the long running Broadway revue Smokey Joe's Cafe. He went on to choreograph Cy Coleman's The Life, and Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center Theater. He was nominated for Tony Awards for the first two.
Sources say the show has many musical numbers and ends with Allen's signature song, "I Go to Rio." The original cast recording of the Australian production included the following songs:
"When I Get My Name In Lights"
"Pretty Keen Teen"
"All I Wanted Was the Dream"
"Only An Older Woman"
"Don't Wish too Hard"
"Sure Thing Baby"
"Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Stage"
"I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love"
"Taught By Experts"
"Not the Boy Next Door"
"Everything Old Is New Again"
"Best That You Can Do"
"Love Don't Need A Reason"
"She Loves To Hear The Music"
"I Honestly Love You"
"I Still Call Australia Home"
"Don't Cry Out Loud"
"I Go To Rio"
Albert Poland serves as general manager for the project.