The first Italian version of Cole Porter's Can-Can will premiere May 12 at Milan's Teatro Manzoni, following a two months provincial tour in which the show scored a number of poor reviews in the regional media and encountered major technical problems (a floodlight fell on stage during the first preview in Sanremo and a piece of set collapsed injuring one of the dancers in another performance).
Producer Tuttoteatro and director-choreographer Gino Landi (one of the great masters of the Italian "commedia musicale") have now thoroughly reworked the show for the important four weeks Milan run thru June 7. Leading a cast of 23 are Mino Bellei (Judge Aristide Forestier), Benedicta Boccoli (Simone Pistache), Corrado Tedeschi (Francois) and Enrico Beruschi (Monsieur Dupont). The show features sets by Roberto Comotti, costumes by Antonella Poletti, lighting by Enzo Ghinassi and Italian lyrics by Aldo Malinverni.
Can-Can was Cole Porter's penultimate Broadway stage musical. The show originally opened at the Shubert Theatre in 1953 and was a great success, running for more than two years and winning two Tony Awards for Michael Kidd's choreography and Gwen Verdon's performance in the role of Claudine. Abe Burrow's book was essentially a love story in which the participants get involved with an attempt by the city authorities to close down a Montmartre nightclub that features the outrageous can-can dance. Cole Porter's score includes a number of popular songs and two major hits, "C'Est Magnifique" and "I Love Paris". In 1988 Can-Can was revived in Chicago with Chita Rivera, and in New York and London with Donna McKechnie. The 1960 film version directed by Walter Lang starred Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine and Maurice Chevalier.
Further information on the Milan leg of Can Can is available visiting Milan's Teatro Manzoni website or calling the box office at +39 2 76.02.543. The show will be revived in the 1998-99 season and has been invited to the forthcoming "Operetta Festival" in Trieste.
--By Stefano Curti