David Lee and Joel Fields have revised the book for the musical, which began previews June 28 at the California stage for a run through Aug. 5. Lee directs the cast of 22.
Can-Can centers on "Pistache, the only woman in Paris who owns a café that features the sexy and provocative Can-Can dance," as a release states. "Pistache faces both a fervent attempt to shut down her business as well as her own complications in love."
The cast features Michelle Duffy (as Pistache), Kevin Earley (Aristide), Amir Talai (Boris), David Engel (Hilaire), Yvette Tucker (Claudine), Robert Yacko (Le Petomane), Jeffrey Landman (Hercule) and Justin Robertson as(Etienne).
The ensemble also includes Shell Bauman, Andrea Beasom, Bonnie Bentley, Robert Alan Clink, Seth Hampton, Alaine Kashian, Jeanine Meyer, Alison Mixon, Justin Roller, Joe Schenck, Jonathan Sharp, Leslie Stevens, Rocklin Thompson and Rebecca Whitehurst.
"David and Joel have done a terrific job of restoring the kick to Can-Can. Their revised book offers perfect settings for the jewels that are Cole Porter's magnificent songs," said Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps in a previous statement. "My mentor and good friend James Burrows is the son of Abe," revealed co-author and director Lee in the announcement. "When I mentioned gingerly to him that I was intrigued with trying to work on his dad's show, he was encouraging. Happily, the Cole Porter estate also gave us permission to try out a new approach."
The new book, according to Lee, is "about eighty percent new – but almost all of Abe's original characters remain. For historical flavor we added a few characters of our own that were actual performers at the Moulin Rouge. And of course Burrows' original premise – that of a judge and a chanteuse finding their romantic way through the demi-monde of Paris in 1893 – is still at its center. Rather than a 'rewriting' of the show, Joel and I like to think of this version as a 're-setting'—as you might an outdated piece of jewelry – polishing up the gems Porter and Burrows left us."
The creative team for Can-Can includes Patti Colombo (choreographer), Steve Orich (musical director and orchestrator) and Tim Weske (fight coordinator). Providing the design are Roy Christopher (set), Randy Gardell (costumes), Michael Gilliam (lighting), Francois Bergeron (sound), Austin Switser (video) and Hazel Catmull (hair).
The musical originally opened on Broadway in 1953 starring Gwen Verdon (who would win the Tony Award) at the Shubert Theatre. The show was then adapted for the 1960 film version featuring Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra.
Pasadena Playhouse will next present Michael J. Chepiga's new play Matter of Honor (Aug. 24-Sept. 30) and Ray Charles Live! (Oct. 31-Dec. 9) — featuring a book by Suzan-Lori Parks using the late music legend's songs.
Tickets to Can-Can at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Ave. in Pasadena, CA are available by calling (626) 356-PLAY, at the box office or online at pasadenaplayhouse.org.