The latest official word on casting for Seussical, the musical, has original cast member David Shiner returning to the role of The Cat in the Hat Feb. 14, the same day the musical begins a new schedule at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Producers Barry and Fran Weissler have talked publicly in recent weeks about the possibility of star casting for various roles in the show, whose box office was enlivened by the plug-in of Rosie O'Donnell as The Cat in the Hat. Spokesman John Barlow confirmed Feb. 5 that producers have been in talks with Donny Osmond to play The Cat in the Hat after O'Donnell exits the show, but it was unclear if Osmond's schedule could accommodate joining the tuner anytime soon. He said the plan is for Shiner to be back for the Feb. 14 matinee. Osmond recorded two songs from Seussical for his new album, "This is the Moment," in stores Feb. 6 (the same day the Seussical cast album appears).
TV talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, a fan of the show since it opened last fall, stepped in for the vacationing Shiner Jan. 16 and continues to Feb. 10, playing six performances a week. Bryan Batt (formerly, the bewigged DJ in Saturday Night Fever) plays the two other shows a week.
Economics would suggest that the producers would want Shiner to perform, since he's getting paid for the work and a bigger box office star has not been announced to offset his salary.
The show's new schedule beginning the week of Feb. 12 has Mondays and Tuesdays dark, two shows Wednesdays, one show Thursdays and Fridays and two shows Saturdays and Sundays. The Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical drawing on the stories and characters by Dr. Seuss got a publicity boost on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," and the casting of Rosie's also perked up the box office. O'Donnell said her salary from Seussical will go to charity. The tuner is produced by SFX Theatrical Group, Barry and Fran Weissler and Universal Studios.
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