Howard McGillin Is "Mrs. Hook's Little Baby Boy" in Rigby's Final Tour of Peter Pan, Taking Wing Sept. 24

News   Howard McGillin Is "Mrs. Hook's Little Baby Boy" in Rigby's Final Tour of Peter Pan, Taking Wing Sept. 24
 
Howard McGillin will play the swaggering villain Capt. Hook in the new national tour of the musical Peter Pan that will be Tony Award-nominated Cathy Rigby's farewell to the role.

It's a long way from McGillin's juvenile lead days in Lincoln Center Theater's Anything Goes to the blustery Hook, the evil pirate of Peter Pan, but the actor is also no stranger to playing weird, menacing charmers: He was a longtime popular star of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

The new tour of Peter Pan launches Sept. 24-Oct. 10 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, and is billed as Olympic star and actress Rigby's final turn in the role she has played for years. Youthful Rigby is in her fifties.

A spokesperson for the tour confirmed the McGillin casting. McGillin earned Tony nominations for The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Anything Goes.

True to the tradition of the casting of the Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh-James M. Barrie show, the actor playing Hook also doubles as Mr. Darling, the father to three London children who fly off to Neverland with Peter Pan.

It was 100 years ago, 1904, that J.M. Barrie's play, Peter Pan, premiered in London. The musical is based on the play and the prose tales Barrie wrote about The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Critics and audiences have been dazzled by Rigby's boyish, athletic performance over the years. When a previous tour with Rigby came to Broadway in the 1990-91 season she was nominated for a Best Actress (Musical) Tony Award. Should this tour light again on Broadway (a booking has not been announced), press agents will likely bang the drum loudly to encourage the Tony nominating committee to give the actress a Special Tony Award for introducing thousands of kids to live theatre over her many years of playing Pan.

Dates and cities to July 2005 have been announced for the 2004-05 tour.

Since the 1990-91 run, producers welcomed Rigby back to Broadway for three other engagements (all linked to tours). Her performance was also captured in a TV staging. One of the major special effects in that airing and home video/DVD release was the digital erasing of the wires that allow Rigby to seem to fly.

A cast album of the Rigby touring production from the late 1990s, and a separate soundtrack album of the video production, are on store shelves.

Glenn Casale will direct the 2004 tour, building on his past touring productions, which played Broadway's Marquis November 1998-January 1999 and then the Gershwin April 1999-August 1999. The 1999 staging was also Tony nommed for Best Revival (Musical).

For the record, Fran Soeder directed Rigby in her Broadway bow as Pan in a staging that played Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne December 1990-January 1991 — earning Rigby and the revival Tony nominations — and later the Minskoff November 1991-January 1992.

For the new run, Patti Colombo's percussive 1998 choreography is also revisited (she was hailed for reinventing the Indian song, "Ugg-a-Wugg" as a primal drum dance worthy of Stomp).

The 2004 principal cast will also include Elisa Sagardia as Wendy and Dana Solimando as Tiger Lilly (repeating their chores from the late 1990s). Complete casting will be announced shortly.

The 1954 Broadway musical was a vehicle for the optimistic actress Mary Martin (who won a Best Actress Tony for it). Cyril Ritchard also won a Tony playing the wicked and foppish Capt. Hook. A cast album preserves their vocal work.

The show, complete with flying, had additional songs by composer Jule Styne and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The musical was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, who also oversaw the popular TV staging that was seen for many years on NBC.

The show's score includes "I Won't Grow Up," "I Gotta Crow," "Neverland," "Hook's Waltz," "Distant Melody" and "I'm Flying."

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