B'way High Society On Target For Spring `98

News   B'way High Society On Target For Spring `98
 
According to a spokesperson from Dodger Productions, Cole Porter's 1956 film musical of Philip Barry's 1939 classic stage comedy, The Philadelphia Story, will reach Broadway with previews in March and an opening in April 1998. No theatre has yet been selected for High Society, though all the major cast-members are expected to stay with the show.

According to a spokesperson from Dodger Productions, Cole Porter's 1956 film musical of Philip Barry's 1939 classic stage comedy, The Philadelphia Story, will reach Broadway with previews in March and an opening in April 1998. No theatre has yet been selected for High Society, though all the major cast-members are expected to stay with the show.

Though the NY Times reported (Oct. 23) that choreographer Christopher d'Amboise has been tapped to take over On The Town when that show comes to the St. James Theatre in the spring, Dodger spokesperson Elizabeth Smith told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 23) she did not know whether that would affect d'Amboise's duties on High Society. D'Amboise is a principal dancer at NYC Ballet; Eliot Feld, the choreographer of Town at Central Park's Delacorte Theatre, has left the show due to his schedule and the mixed reviews his work on Town received.

Scheduled to close Oct. 5, the San Francisco try-out of the Broadway bound musical, had extended its sold-out run there to Oct. 12. The American Conservatory Theatre's staging opened there Sept. 10.

Cast-members at ACT are expected to stay with the show in its Broadway incarnation:
Tony nominee Daniel McDonald, who played the marathon-dancing Atlantic City in Steel Pier, plays Philadelphian Main Liner, C.K. Dexter Haven. Melissa Errico, who got raves in the last Broadway revival of My Fair Lady and in the "Encores!" production of One touch of Venus, stars as his ex, Tracy Lord, a blueblood altar-bound again.

Another Tony nominee (for Passion), Jere Shea, plays Macaulay Connor, the magazine reporter who amorously complicates her proposed nuptials. Randy Graff, a Tony winner for City of Angels, is Connor's wise-cracking sidekick photographer, pursued all over the elegant Main Line premises by Tracy's randy unmarried uncle (John McMartin of Follies fame).

Also featured in the Society cast are Lisa Banes (Arcadia), Michael Goodwin (Cyrano), Marc Kudisch (Gaston in Beauty & The Beast), and 13-year-old Lisbeth Zelle.

Christopher Renshaw, who drew acclaim and Tony consideration for the current Broadway revival of The King and I, directs the musical, which boasts a book by Arthur Kopit (Nine, Doctor Zhivago).

Aside from most of the songs from the movie, this new version has nothing to do with the British High Society that first reached the stage a few years ago with Natasha Richardson. The brand-new Yankee edition will be spiced with standards plus tunes from other Porter scores (all except those from Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate).

Designing the A.C.T. High Society are Loy Arcenas (sets), Judith Anne Dolan (Candide's sole Tony-winner), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound).

This story of the humanization (through love) of a haughty aristocratic woman was written specifically for Katharine Hepburn because Barry liked the movie she did of his play, Holiday. The result, The Philadelphia Story, opened at Broadway's Shubert March 28, 1939, and revitalized Hepburn's sagging career. The roles of the ex-hubby, reporter, photographer and philanderer were originated by Joseph Cotten, Van Heflin, Shirley Booth and Forrest Orr on stage and filmed a year later by Cary Grant, an Oscar-winning James Stewart, Ruth Hussey and Roland Young; in Porter's filmusical (which had Philadelphia's pre-princess, Grace Kelly, in the Hepburn role), those parts were essayed by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm and, in his last film, Louis Calhern.

The Dodgers are producing the show with Lauren Mitchell, the former actress and debuting producer. (She originated the title role in Kiss of the Spider Woman when that musical premiered at SUNY Purchase in the spring of 1990.)

For information on High Society at ACT call (415) 749-2228.

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