Gypsy Star Replaces Morrison in The Opposite of Sex Musical Debut

News   Gypsy Star Replaces Morrison in The Opposite of Sex Musical Debut David Burtka, who recently played Tulsa in the revival of Gypsy, will replace Hairspray star Matthew Morrison in the upcoming world premiere of the musical The Opposite of Sex, according to a production spokesperson.

David Burtka
David Burtka

Morrison was originally announced to star, but has left the production due to his casting in the upcoming ABC television adaptation of Once Upon a Mattress starring Tracey Ullman and Carol Burnett.

Former Hairspray castmate Kerry Butler (Little Shop of Horrors) will star in the musical set to start at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, Sept. 25. Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown), Karen Ziemba (Never Gonna Dance), John Bolton (Titanic), Donna Vivino (Hairspray tour) and local actors Joe Mandragona and Ian Scott McGregor will also appear.

Burtka has also appeared in Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? on Broadway and The Play About the Baby Off-Broadway. His other credits include Beautiful Thing, Bad Boy Johnny, Children of Eden (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Music Man (Northshore Music Theatre) and the national tour of Beauty and the Beast.

The new musical adaptation based on the 1998 film starring Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Ivan Sergei and Johnny Galecki will open the season Oct. 2 at the California venue for a run through Oct. 24.

Douglas J. Cohen (No Way to Treat a Lady) provides music and lyrics for The Opposite of Sex with a book — based on Don Roos' screenplay — by Cohen (Glimmerglass,The Gig) and Robert Jess Roth (director of Beauty and the Beast). Roth is also slated to direct the show billed as an "explosive, quirky, fun and politically-incorrect musical romp." The design team features Derek McLane (set), Norm Schwab (lighting), Leslie Bernstein (costume) and Daryl Frame (sound). Michael Starobin — the 2004 Tony Award winner for Assassins — will provide orchestrations. Musical direction is handled by Brad Haak.

"The Opposite of Sex" followed the conniving 16-year-old Dedee Truitt (Ricci) as she moves in with her now-wealthy gay half-brother Bill and ends up pregnant by his new boyfriend Matt. Bill's best friend and sister of his rich late lover, Lucia (Kudrow), is the only one who sees through Dedee's scheme.

Magic Theatre artistic director Chris Smith told Playbill On-Line the musical is a faithful adaptation of the film, describing it with words like "edgy," "funny" and "a little potty-mouth."

"I think it's exactly what the musical theatre scene needs," Smith said. "Something that's built in the mode of Falsettos, a character-driven piece, something that isn't necessarily only playing to sort of tired musical theatre conventions. This is a new take on 'boy gets girl.' It will appeal not only to connoisseurs of musical theatre [but] to an audience that a lot of Broadway producers would salivate for."

On the show's "potty-mouth" nature, Smith explained "Folks that I came of age seeing their works, emerged with the lyrics of Cole Porter; with the kind of sophisticated banter and wit that I think this is in that tradition. [But] it's hipper and inflicted with our current culture."

The musical underwent a workshop production in Dec. 2003 featuring a cast of Kerry Butler, Stephen Bogardus, Ana Gasteyer, Jeff McCarthy, Matthew Morrison, Barrett Foa and Keith Nobbs. Producers Barry and Fran Weissler have been reportedly attached to the project which is said to be Broadway-bound.

The Magic is also presenting the world premieres of Charles Grodin's The Right Kind of People and three other works in repertory as well as the American premiere of Rebecca Gilman's The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and Wesley Moore's A Reckoning. Smith admits though a musical debut is a departure for the venue. "The Magic has a 38-year legacy of premiering works and supporting very accomplished artists and introducing new ones. It's a stretch for us to be working on a musical and I'm very excited about it."

Single tickets for The Opposite of Sex at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center (Building D) in San Francisco, CA go on sale Aug. 24. Subscriptions for the 2004 2005 season are available by calling (415) 441-8822. For more information, visit the Magic Theatre website at www.magictheatre.org.

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