Herman's Spectacular to Hit Vegas in 2004; Reality TV Show to Choose Star

News   Herman's Spectacular to Hit Vegas in 2004; Reality TV Show to Choose Star The legitimate theatre and reality-based television have met and the marriage will take place in Las Vegas. Jerry Herman's new musical Miss Spectacular will be staged by Tommy Tune in Vegas in spring 2004, its star selected by way of a reality show in the mold of "The Bachelor" and "American Idol."

The television program will last eight episodes and run in the last quarter of 2003, producer Ben Sprecher told Playbill On-Line Jan. 23. The winner will then go on to play the titular role in Miss Spectacular. The whole enterprise will have something of a meta quality, since Herman's show is actually about a woman who enters a talent contest in Las Vegas.

The production will take place at an as-yet-unnamed hotel. Tommy Tune will direct and the show will have three choreographers. The remaining actors will be found through traditional casting methods.

Herman told Playbill On-Line that he's excited about the search for a leading lady, and admits reality TV is a hot idea at the moment and will bring a spotlight to musical theatre.

"This is exactly what 'Star Search' and 'American Idol' are doing," Herman said. "We need to find two Miss Spectaculars. She should be a brand new face because it's a young girl, and somewhere in this great pool of talent that this country has, there are girls who would be perfect to do this. It's a very, very demanding role: She has to sing like an angel, she has to have a show voice and she has to be a comedienne — and she has to dance. She has to have a charisma and be attractive. It's a tall order. We're going to have a real search, and TV covering it."

The show was once slated for a lavish hotel production by Steve Wynn, but when his properties changed hands, Herman's work got lost in the shuffle. Miss Spectacular — which Herman told Playbill On-Line he owns outright — is about a star-struck Kansas girl named Sarah Jane Hotchkiss who has fantasies about being a glamorous Vegas showgirl, and hoofs it to Nevada to compete in a contest. Her dismayed boyfriend pursues her. It all ends very nicely, and very spectacularly, in a desert wedding chapel. The score, released on a studio-recording CD recently, is full of bouncy show tunes from the man who gave us Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles.