The new autobiographical Donna Summer musical, Ordinary Girl, is moving ahead quickly. Producer Peter Holmes a Court told Playbill On-Line (May 8) that he would announce the dates of a pre-Broadway, European tour within six weeks.
The overseas tour will commence sometime this fall with a few dates in the U.K. provinces before settling in for a run in the West End. The show will begin a U.S. tour in April of 1999 in Cleveland. It will then visit a few other cities, including Boston, before landing on Broadway in the fall of 1999.
Ordinary Girl, conceived by and starring Summer, will tell the life story of the one-time disco queen. Holmes a Court said the score will consist of 16 new songs, all written or co-written by Summer, along with some of the '70s dance hits that made her famous. Her hits included "Last Dance," "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Hot Stuff."
Summer's writing partners include Al Kasha (who wrote "Hot Stuff"), Bruce Sudano, and Michael Omartian -- all men she's worked with for years. The score ranges from disco anthems to power ballads to "Broadway-story-advancing songs," in Holmes a Court's words. Unlike Paul Simon, Barry Manilow, Elton John and other pop stars who have ventured into the musical theatre in recent seasons, Summer has a background on the legitimate stage, having, in her youth, toured Europe in such shows as Hair. "She understands what it means to be on stage," said Holmes a Court. "She has no fantasies about it. She knows what it takes."
Summer refers to her new project as "contheatre," a hybrid of the stage and the stadium. "The story is told in the backdrop of a concert, and a concert grows out of the story," explained Holmes a Court. "There will a point in the musical where you're not sure if you're in a musical or a concert. Donna doesn't what to judged by the yardstick of what is a concert or the yardstick of what is a musical." Ordinary Girl is co-produced by Steve Leber Productions and Back Row Productions. A television special and a concept album promoting the show are planned for September. -- By Robert Simonson