Give Me a "D"! Debbie Does Off-Broadway, Beginning Oct. 8

News   Give Me a "D"! Debbie Does Off-Broadway, Beginning Oct. 8

Sherie Rene Scott (center) and her Debbie Does Dallas squad.

Photo by Megan Maloy

From the curtained section of video rental stores to a curtain on an Off Broadway stage comes Debbie Does Dallas. The play with music, which features Sherie Rene Scott (Aida, The Last 5 Years) in the title role, begins previews at the Jane Street Theatre Oct. 8 before its official opening Oct. 29. Debbie Does Dallas revolves around a smalltown girl and her quest to become a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. Scott, a smalltown girl herself, heads the cast that includes Paul Fitzgerald, Mary Catherine Garrison, Caitlin Miller, Tricia Paoluccio, Del Pentecost, Jon Patrick Walker and Jama Williamson.

"Once upon a time in a small town a little girl with stars in her eyes dreamed of growing up, moving to the city and making 'it' big," reads the official tongue-in-cheek announcement of the show. "That little girl grew up to be Debbie. Based on the American film classic, Debbie Does Dallas is a coming of age story about a group of ambitious young women who want nothing more than to help their friend Debbie get a spot on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad. It is perhaps the most important theatrical event of the 21st century. No, not perhaps — definitely."

The production takes major liberties with the film — one of the most famous porn titles in history — and adds original contemporary music by Andrew Sherman. Erica Schmidt, who adapted the script, will direct. Tom Kitt is musical supervisor. The artistic team is Jennifer Cody (choreography), Juman Malouf (costumes), Christine Jones (sets), Shelly Sabel (lighting) and Laura Grace Brown (sound).

Debbie Does Dallas was conceived by Susan L. Schwartz, who adapted and starred in the New York International Fringe Festival version of the show in 2001. That highly anticipated adaptation received mixed reviews but sold out its run in the downtown Manhattan festival.

Producer Michael Rego of the Araca Group — which brought the Fringe production of Urinetown to acclaim — previously told Playbill On-Line, of current adapter director Erica Schmidt's work, "It's a much more theatrical event now as opposed to just a film on stage." Rego explained this "more vaudevillian" mounting versus the Fringe staging is "pretty radically different, you wouldn't recognize it. It's a totally new and different animal."

The Off-Broadway production (produced by special arrangement with VCX Limited) is produced by The Araca Group (Urinetown, the Musical, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune), Jam Theatricals and Waxman-Williams Entertainment.

Sh-K-Boom Records will release the cast album of the Off-Broadway stagework Debbie Does Dallas in November, featuring Debbie star Scott belting songs by Andrew Sherman, Tom Kitt and the production's adapter-director Erica Schmidt.

Sh-K-Boom president Kurt Deutsch told Playbill On-Line, "Because the show is not a traditional musical, the cast album of Debbie Does Dallas will not be a traditional cast album." He described the album as "somewhere between 'South Park' and the 'National Lampoon' comedy albums of the '70s."

Sh-K-Boom Records can be found on the web at www.sh-k-boom.com.

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Susan L. Schwartz, producer-adapter-star of the Fringe production of DDD, previously told Playbill On-Line that the idea for the production "came out of a discussion with a friend about how funny it would be to see a porn film being read on stage." A year later, the show made its world premiere, following some awkward research moments. Schwartz explained she went to the video store and couldn't find the title so she had to ask the clerk. "He smirks and I said, 'No, it's for an Off-Off-Broadway show that I'm doing,' and he goes, 'Sure it is,'" Schwartz said.

For tickets to Debbie Does Dallas, at the Jane Street,113 Jane Street, (between the West Side Highway and Washington St.) call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. For more information, visit the show's website — complete with pulsating music, a cowboy-themed cast page and yes, bananas — at www.debbiedoesdallas-live.com.

— by Ernio Hernandez