A new Cy Coleman musical, Lawyers, Lovers & Lunatics, a further version of Exactly Like You, will play three regional venues in seven weeks between February and April 2003, on a mini-tour that producers hope will expand into many months of bookings.
Coleman, who knows his way around a show tune with such hits as Sweet Charity, City of Angels and Little Me, partners with librettist-lyricist A.E. Hotchner for this courtroom-set musical comedy in which four couples — including legal counsel, jurors, judge and witness — argue, sing, dance and eventually get romantic. Coleman and Hotchner share lyric credit here. The show was previously seen at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre and at the York Theatre Company under the title Exactly Like You, and was, at one point, to be called Court TV, the Musical.
Michael McGrath, featured in the earlier stagings, headlines Lawyers, Lovers & Lunatics in New Jersey and Florida, playing the defense attorney whose ex is the prosecutor in a case about a man who is accused of locking up his mother-in-law.
The show has gone through tweaks and revisions over the years. Patricia Birch (Pacific Overtures, Parade) remains connected as the director-choreographer.
Jon Cutler produces, and Arnold Engelman of Westbeth Entertainment executive produces the one-set, 12-actor production, in which the band is part of the company (they play jurors; Fred Barton musical directs and plays the judge, with keyboard on the bench). Performances in 2003 play the Forum Theatre in Metuchen, NJ, Feb 12-March 2, the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 11-24 and the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, FL, March 25-April 6. Engelman said he and Cutler hope to engage the interest of booking agents for an expanded tour. The combination of a screwball-comedy-style story with 21 Cy Coleman songs opens the show to a wide audience, he said.
"It's a spoof when you really get down to it," Engelman told Playbill On-Line. "It's a screwball comedy, basically, sort of like those 1950s movies where the reality is stretched."
In the world of the show, an ad exec on the jury falls for the country singer on the jury, a mother-in-law falls for the judge, separated plaintiff and defendant reunite and the lawyers make up — and palm trees pop out of the courtroom set in one of the fantasy sequences.
Designers for the tour are James Morgan (set), Kirk Bookman (lighting) and Richard S Schurkamp (costumes).