It Takes a Village: Will Robin Hood, the Musical, Premiere in Pacific Northwest?

News   It Takes a Village: Will Robin Hood, the Musical, Premiere in Pacific Northwest?
 
Village Theatre, the Pacific Northwest troupe devoted largely to musicals, is in talks with East Coast producer NETworks about presenting the developmental world premiere of Robin Hood, the Musical, in late 2004.

A spokesperson for Village in Issaquah, Washington, told Playbill On-Line discussions were continuing to offer the show as part of its Village Original series, devoted to emerging works. Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers) penned the book to the new Robin Hood, with lyrics by Martin Charnin (Annie, Two by Two) and music by Canadian composer Peter Sipos.

If the details work out, a December 2004 slot at the Village's 200-seat First Stage, a former vaudeville house, would be the place for Robin Hood.

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NETworks is the producer behind tours of Cinderella and Seussical.

Charnin previously told Playbill On-Line in January 2004 the hope is to present the musical retelling of Robin and his Merry Men in a regional theatre in the next year. NETworks, he said, is "hunting for a regional theatre situation where we can put it on for four or five weeks and work on it."

The piece has had two recent readings (in New York and Florida) representing revisions on the show, which was once scheduled for the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, but was dropped so the piece could be revised and refined.

Charnin said a reading at the Marriott was instructive. "The audience gave us some fascinating feedback," he said.

As previously reported by Playbill On-Line, Robin Hood the musical will show the heroes of Sherwood Forest (those who famously stole from the rich and gave to the poor) as fiftysomething men with teen-age children who are as sexy and vital as they once were. Think of it as Robin Hood, the Next Generation.

"It's a very interesting take on this well-known tale, only it has a couple of really good surprises," Charnin said. "All of our old favorite characters are there, but they've turned into The Over-the-Hill Gang."

The show once had the subtitle, The Legend Continues, but Charnin said the show is now called Robin Hood.

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NETworks executive producer Ken Gentry previously confirmed details about the show, which takes place 20 years after exploits that have been well-documented in movies and literature.

One private New York reading of the work featured Maureen McGovern as Marian and Steve Blanchard as Robin. The reading was developmental — for the producers and creators to learn more about the shape of the script and what needed to be addressed. "We found out a whole lot of good stuff" about the project, Gentry said.

Meehan and Charnin created the smash-hit, Annie, together. Charnin also penned lyrics for Annie Warbucks and Two by Two. Meehan won a Tony Award in 2001 for co-writing the libretto for The Producers and a 2003 Tony for co-writing the libretto for Hairspray (and also won the Tony for Annie). He is also a contributor to the new Broadway musical, Bombay Dreams.

Their new version of the Robin Hood legend shows Robin at age 50 returning from demoralizing wars to tell his friends that he's leaving England forever. His one regret is that he and Marian didn't have a child — a son to carry on a tradition.

As it turns out, the estranged (Maid) Marian appears and it is discovered that 15 years earlier she had a child — but a daughter.

Gentry calls the show a romp with a lot of wit and humor. It's "a little but like Annie, but more in the world of Erroll Flynn," he said. The Merry Men are back, and they all have sons — creating a new generation of action and adventure.

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