Foster, Borle, Butler, Sills, Opel Sing G&S in Roundabout's Gondoliers Reading

News   Foster, Borle, Butler, Sills, Opel Sing G&S in Roundabout's Gondoliers Reading The Roundabout Theatre Company is continuing to explore a new version of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers in a June 16-28 reading being directed by the busy director Gabriel Barre.
Hunter Foster.
Hunter Foster.

This is the Roundabout's second major reading of the G&S operetta, which has new lyrics and libretto by Forever Plaid creator Stuart Ross. Roundabout sponsored a reading of an earlier draft in summer 2002. No official announcement of the project has been made, but it's thought to be on Roundabout's wish list for production in the near future.

First produced in 1889, the Venice-set operetta has libretto by William S. Gilbert, music by Arthur Sullivan. For this new version, music is adapted and arranged by Joe Church, with additional music by Church, who also serves at the musical director.

The new show is set "sometime during the last two centuries," though the original setting was 1750. The operetta's subtitle is The King of Barataria.

The four lovers are Hunter Foster (Urinetown) as Marco, Christian Borle (Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Giuseppe, Kerry Butler (Hairspray) as Tessa and Tricia Paoluccio (Debbie Does Dallas) as Gianetta. Edward Hibbert (Noises Off) plays the Duke, Nancy Opel (Urinetown) is The Duchess and Rona Figueroa (Nine) is their daughter, Casilda. Deven May (Bat Boy, the Musical) is the daughter's suitor, Luiz. Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel) plays Don Alhambra.

The ensemble includes Kate Baldwin, Barrett Foa, Destan Owens, Angela Robinson, Jennifer Smith and Michael Winther. In summer 2002, Neil Patrick Harris, Melissa Dye, Mary Testa and Gary Beach were among those testing the material. Private presentations of the work are expected June 27-28.

Gabriel Barre is having a busy year: He has been working with John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joseph Stein on a new version of Skin of Our Teeth, the Musical, and he is staging Frank Wildhorn's Broadway-aimed Camille Claudel for Goodspeed Musicals at the Norma Terris Theatre this summer. He also helmed Stand By Your Man for Goodspeed. His credits include Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party and the musical, Summer of '42, both Off-Broadway.

Roundabout is high as a kite this year, with its 2003 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Nine. For information about the compant, visit roundabouttheatre.org.

Kerry Butler and Christian Borle.
Kerry Butler and Christian Borle.