Smith, the former pop star, is known for stage roles, including playing Frederick in The New York Shakespeare Festival's The Pirates of Penzance. He made his Broadway debut in Grease and also appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel and Grand Hotel.
In Princesses he plays aging Hollywood idol Kevin Finch (originally Finck).
Jenny Fellner of Broadway's Mamma Mia!, Matt Cavenaugh and Donna English also star in the production, to be directed by David Zippel (The Woman in White, City of Angels) who conceived the original musical and wrote its lyrics. The libretto is by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner (Emmy Award-winning writers of "Cheers"). The score is by Grammy Award-nominated composer Matthew Wilder ("Mulan").
Princesses, billed as "a modern father-daughter musical," rounds out the two-show season of developing works at Goodspeed's Norman Terris Theatre in Chester, CT. The Chester season is devoted to new works and is not open to reviewers, unlike Goodspeed's shows at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. The show plays Nov. 4-28. Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley are attached as producers of the commercial future of Princesses, which will have an early summer 2005 run starting May 31 at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, before moving to Broadway.
According to Goodspeed's announcement, "Like most boarding school girls, these hip teens hate music class, love shopping and have no interest in putting on a show. Enter America's hottest action hero (played by Rex Smith) to direct the school play. All the girls are crazy for him, except for one — his daughter (played by Jenny Fellner) who barely knows him. Will she finally have a 'real' father, or will he head back to Hollywood when he gets a better offer?"
The role of young Hollywood hunk, Brad, will be performed by Cavenaugh, of Broadway'sUrban Cowboy. Donna English (of Goodspeed's On the Twentieth Century and They All Laughed!) plays Ms. Nibbey.
The cast also includes Allyson Arena, Jennifer Arena, Sarah Jane Everman, Lindsey Mary Faber, Sarah Jayne Jensen, Camille Anne Letscher, Dena Lindsay Mendez, Melissa Menezes, Patti Murin, Marissa Perry, LaQuet Thompson, Lindsay Wilson and Ericka Yang.
The musical director is Lynne Shankel (Summer of '42, The Thing About Men). Orchestrations are by Douglas Besterman (Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Producers).
Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning Tony Walton (Goodspeed's Where's Charley?) will design sets with costume design by William Ivey Long (Hairspray, The Producers).
Lighting design is by Richard Pilbrow, with sound designed by Jonathan Deans.
For more information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.
Composer Andrew Lippa is working with lyricist-librettist Brian Crawley on an unrelated adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, "A Little Princess," which bowed in August at TheatreWorks in California. Susan Schulman directed the Broadway-aimed production. Their show is called, as you might guess, A Little Princess.