The biggest new musical hit of last season is finally hitting the road. Contact, the triple-decker dance confection by choreographer director Susan Stroman and bookwriter John Weidman, will begin a national tour in San Francisco in May 2001, according to a press representative.
From the Bay Area, where it will play six weeks, the show will stay in California, travelling south to Los Angeles' Ahmanson for the summer. After Labor Day, it will then play a few shorter engagements around the country.
No casting has been announced. The Broadway production stars Boyd Gaines, Karen Ziemba and Deborah Yates. The first two won Tonys for their performances as, respectively, a spiritually lost ad exec and an oppressed 1950's housewife.
Contact became the first big hit of the 1999-2001 New York season when it opened roughly a year ago at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre. It later transferred to the bigger Vivian Beaumont, where it is still ensconced. The three-part show consists of the brief "The Swing," an acrobatic dance between an aristocrat, girl and a servant; "Did You Move?", the Italian restaurant set piece where Ziemba plays an abused woman who escapes into fantasy; and Contact, the most famous section, in which Gaines finds a reason to live in the mysterious dance-hall diva played by Yates and known only as The Girl in the Yellow Dress.
The show sparked a mini-controversy when awards season came around and it began nabbing all the best musical trophies. Many people pointed out that since the show did not have an original score, orchestra or a single singing role, it was not a musical, but rather, as first advertised, a "dance play." Contact prevailed however, winning the best musical Tony Award.