I'm a smalltown girl, with a chance at the big time and chances don't come easy," sings star Sherie René Scott in the Off-Broadway production of Debbie Does Dallas opening at the Jane Street Theatre, Oct. 29. The production, which started performances Oct. 8, takes its story from the popular porn film with the same name.
The dimly-lit Jane Street Theatre is given a strip joint feel — with a fully-stocked bar in the rear and a set that includes two go-go poles— for the play with-music by adapter-director Erica Schmidt. The production, which lasts approximately 90 minutes (with no intermission), takes major liberties with the film, adding original contemporary music by Andrew Sherman.
Debbie Does Dallas still, however, revolves around the aforementioned smalltown girl and her unstoppable quest to become a Dallas cheerleader. Scott, a smalltown girl herself, heads the cast that includes her fellow cheer squad as played by Mary Catherine Garrison, Caitlin Miller, Tricia Paoluccio and Jama Williamson. The many men of Debbie Does Dallas are played by Del Pentecost, Paul Fitzgerald and Jon Patrick Walker.
Read comments by the show's star in Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter with Sherie René Scott.
Tom Kitt is musical supervisor. The artistic team features Jennifer Cody (choreography), Juman Malouf (costumes), Christine Jones (sets), Shelly Sabel (lighting) and Laura Grace Brown (sound). Blank stares, cheers, suggestive stretching and plenty of innuendo fill the satiric comedy which features some songs and musical numbers. Scott belts out most of the productions rock-infused songs which include "Debbie Benton" - when Debbie receives her acceptance letter from Dallas, in which she quips "When you open up a letter and it says Dear Debbie Benton, but I guess you wouldn't do that, cause your name's not Debbie Benton"; a "Smalltown Girl" lament about her desires to be "one step closer" to her dream of Dallas; interludes which include "Ten Dollars Closer to Dallas"; and the show's big finale "Relax, Debbie, Relax".
Other songs in the production include a rag about the uses of candles sung by Mr. Hardwick, a Busby Berkeley-inspired banana dance sequence, a redemption song "God Must Love a Fool" for Debbie's rival Lisa and a monster ballad by Debbie's boyfriend Rick, "I Wanna Do Debbie".
The songs and more tracks will be featured on the cast album of the Off-Broadway stagework being released on Sh-K-Boom Records as president Kurt Deutsch told Playbill On-Line. "Because the show is not a traditional musical, the cast album of Debbie Does Dallas will not be a traditional cast album." He described the album as "somewhere between 'South Park' and the 'National Lampoon' comedy albums of the '70s." Deutsch said the recording will take place Nov. 10 and be released at the theatre prior to a store-wide release scheduled for Jan. 7.
Sh-K-Boom Records can be found on the web at www.sh-k-boom.com.
Debbie Does Dallas was conceived by Susan L. Schwartz, who adapted and starred in the New York International Fringe Festival version of the show in 2001. That highly anticipated adaptation received mixed reviews but sold out its run in the downtown Manhattan festival.
Producer Michael Rego of the Araca Group — which brought the Fringe production of Urinetown to acclaim — previously told Playbill On-Line, of current adapter director Erica Schmidt's work, "It's a much more theatrical event now as opposed to just a film on stage. It's a totally new and different animal."
The Off-Broadway production (produced by special arrangement with VCX Limited) is produced by The Araca Group (Urinetown, the Musical, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune), Jam Theatricals and Waxman-Williams Entertainment.
Susan L. Schwartz, producer-adapter-star of the Fringe production of DDD, previously told Playbill On-Line that the idea for the production "came out of a discussion with a friend about how funny it would be to see a porn film being read on stage." A year later, the show made its world premiere, following some awkward research moments. Schwartz explained she went to the video store and couldn't find the title so she had to ask the clerk. "He smirks and I said, 'No, it's for an Off-Off Broadway show that I'm doing,' and he goes, 'Sure it is,'" Schwartz said.
For tickets to Debbie Does Dallas, at the Jane Street,113 Jane Street, (between the West Side Highway and Washington St.) call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. For more information, visit the show's website — complete with pulsating music, a cowboy themed cast page and yes, bananas — at www.debbiedoesdallas-live.com.