Expect a Younger Dr. Dolittle on Stage

News   Expect a Younger Dr. Dolittle on Stage
 
Leslie Bricusse, who will be triple-timing as composer, lyricist and book writer for the forthcoming London legit adaptation of his Doctor Dolittle film musical, told Playbill On-Line that audiences can expect to see a much younger Dr. D on stage.

Leslie Bricusse, who will be triple-timing as composer, lyricist and book writer for the forthcoming London legit adaptation of his Doctor Dolittle film musical, told Playbill On-Line that audiences can expect to see a much younger Dr. D on stage.

Bricusse, who has written music and/or lyrics to Stop the World -- I Want to Get Off, Scrooge and Victor/Victoria among others, said the English actor who will sing "Talk To the Animals" has been tentatively chosen, but declined to declined to give a name. "I can say he will be a young Dr. Dolittle," Bricusse said. "Rex Harrison [who originated the role in the 1968 film] was fabulous, but he was a generation and half older than the leading lady [Samantha Eggar]. With a younger Dr. Dolittle, the potential of that relationship is much greater."

The musical is based on a series of Hugh Lofting children's books about an English veterinarian who learns to speak various animal languages, and is therefore called upon constantly to help them, leading him into fanciful adventures.

Speaking at a press conference for this upcoming Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway, Bricusse said audiences could look for the show opening in the West End in fall 1997, though he said no date or theatre have been chosen.

Bricusse, who just had a hit with a holiday-time 1996 stage adaptation of his Scrooge with former collaborator Anthony Newley, said Doctor Dolittle might have come to the stage years ago, but there was no to portray the many animal characters convincingly, Cats notwithstanding. Bricusse said the problem will be solved by the Jim Henson organization, which will use puppets and "animatronics" to create Polynesia the parrot, Gub-gub the pig and other familiar Dolittle anthropomorphs.The score includes "When I Look in Your Eyes," "Something in Your Smile," "After Today," "Like Animals," "My Friend the Doctor" and the hit "Talk to the Animals," though Bricusse didn't say how many of those songs would be used in the stage adaptation.

-- By Robert Viagas

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