Cathy Rigby will repeat her Cat in the Hat role from Broadway's Seussical, the musical, for a national tour in fall 2002, producer Kenneth Gentry announced June 25.
The Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical that condensed a gaggle of Dr. Seuss children's stories into a broad-strokes stage show in the 2000-2001 Broadway season was a critic's favorite target, but was embraced by family audiences who saw it. The troubled original production, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, SFX and Universal Studios, went through creative-team changes and guest-star casting during its seven-month Broadway run. A cast album preserves the work of the company.
During the run, original Cat in the Hat David Shiner was replaced by guest stars Rosie O'Donnell and then former gymnast Rigby. Pop music star Aaron Carter stepped in in March to play JoJo, the boy hero of the tuner.
For the Equity national tour, Gentry of NETworks, will serve as executive producer. Tour direction is by The Booking Group. NETworks produces both Equity and non-Equity tours. Among its recent Equity tours are The Civil War with Larry Gatlin, Victor Victoria with Toni Tenille, Jekyll & Hyde and the current Cinderella.
Seussical, with a book by lyricist Ahrens and composer Flaherty (Ragtime), was one of the most anticipated shows of the 2000 season, but seemed to never recover from a landslide of negativity that began with a bad review in its August-September 2000 Boston tryout. The show earned one Tony Award nomination — Kevin Chamberlin for Best Actor in a Musical. On the road, the show is expected to sell on the strength of the Seuss brand name. Characters in the show include kid lit faves Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Whos, Gertrude McFuzz and more.
At Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre, the show closed May 20, after 197 performances and 34 previews.
The creative team for the road show has not been announced, but it is thought the production will be reconceived and approached with new eyes. Original director Frank Galati was replaced by Rob Marshall, whose contributions were not credited in the Playbill. Kathleen Marshall choreographed.
Rigby was nominated for a Best Actress Tony Award for one of her several visits to Broadway in a reconceived revival of the musical, Peter Pan, which she also toured for several years.