The elusive impresario Garth Drabinsky, who once reigned over the entertainment company Livent, may be headed back to Broadway. According to Variety, Drabinsky has been busy making calls to New York in an attempt to assemble a star-studded cast for a revival of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser.
Drabinsky's interest in the property was first reported by the New York Post last summer.
Drabinsky founded the Toronto-based Livent, which was responsible for producing new works — Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman: The Musical — as well as lavish revivals like Candide and Show Boat. The company went bankrupt in 1998 after allegations of financial misadventure, and both Drabinsky and co-founder Myron Gottlieb face criminal and civil charges in the United States. The dynamic duo are under investigation in Canada as well.
Harwood's The Dresser was originally produced on Broadway in 1981 with a cast that included Tom Courtenay, Rachel Gurney, Marge Redmond, Paul Rogers, Lisabeth Bartlett and Douglas Seale. The two-act play is set in the English provinces before and after a theatrical production. Directed by Michael Elliott, the Nederlander production closed at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre after 200 performances and 20 previews.
A 1983 film version followed featuring direction by Peter Yates. Tom Courtenay repeated his role as Norman opposite Albert Finney, Edward Fox, Zena Walker and Eileen Atkins. Both Courtenay and Finney received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In its short history during the 1990's, Livent produced The Phantom of the Opera at Toronto's Pantages Theatre. That theatrical landmark that helped solidify the city's reputation as a major theatre town and tourist destination. Other Livent shows, or shows Livent initiated before crumbling in 1998-99, included a new staging and tour of Aspects of Love; Diahann Carroll in Sunset Boulevard (Toronto and Vancouver); a North American tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; the musical, Ragtime, and its tours; Barrymore starring Christopher Plummer; the musical Parade; a Broadway revival of Candide; the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman; the musical revue Fosse; the musical Seussical; the musical Sweet Smell of Success (now on Broadway in the hands of Clear Channel Entertainment and a host of other producers); and a revival of Pal Joey (not produced).
— By Andrew Gans
and Kenneth Jones