Butterell Seeks Seniors for New Musical The Last Dance

News   Butterell Seeks Seniors for New Musical The Last Dance
Jonathan Butterell, the Broadway choreographer of the recent The Light in the Piazza, Assassins, Fiddler on the Roof and Nine, is working on a new musical to feature veteran performers. Think of it as 70, Girls and Boys, 70.
Jonathan Butterell
Jonathan Butterell Photo by courtesy of O&M Co.

The Last Dance, a developing show that will feature septuagenarian (or older) actors and actresses singing existing pop music, will be explored in a staged reading in Manhattan in July, according to an Equity casting notice. Butterell directs.

Producers David Binder (33 Variations, Mary Stuart) and Barbara Whitman (Red, Next to Normal) are behind the 60-hour reading. Mary-Mitchell Campbell (The Addams Family, Company) is the musical director.

Here's how the project is characterized in the casting notice: "A group of senior citizens find themselves in a waiting room. A luggage carousel turns and delivers their bags. They are strangers. Over the PA system a familiar rock song plays and the characters begin to interact through the vernacular of contemporary song. Tensions arise. Bonds are formed. And finally they are released into their last dance. This reading will be used to explore these characters, their relationships and the rock/pop syntax through which they communicate."

"Established veterans of stage and screen" are being sought for the project. The characters include The Showman ("an elderly charmer…still able to bring down the house"); The Cross Dresser ("a man who dresses in women’s clothes"); The Hick ("a rightwing, educated hick…rough and opinionated"); The Spinster ("tight, intelligent, withdrawn"); The Itinerant ("African-American Male, a down-and-out homeless man…a tough Rasta type"); The Boy (age 8–11. "an angelic boy with a beautiful choirboy soprano voice"); The Husband ("devoted husband, average, contented and humble"); The Wife ("devoted and doting wife"); The Mystic ("tiny, slight, mystical, Hare Krishna"); The Soul Diva ("African-American female…grand, exuberant and expressive"); The Elegant Man ("African-American male…very upscale, elegant, educated and authoritative"); and The Truth-Teller ("Asian female…a no-nonsense, blunt, straight-talking woman").

No official production plan has been announced for The Last Dance. In 1971, John Kander and Fred Ebb's Broadway musical 70, Girls, 70 told of old folks involved in a criminal caper who manage to sing show tunes such as "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup," "Yes," "Home," "Hit It, Lorraine," "Old Folks," the title number and more. It featured such veterans as Hans Conreid, Mildred Natwick (who was Tony Award-nominated), Lillian Roth, Lillian Hayman, Joey Faye, Dorothea Freitag and more.

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