Following a month's vacation, David Shiner returns to the Broadway company of Seussical, the musical, Feb. 14 to do mischief as The Cat in the Hat.
After a Wednesday morning brushup rehearsal with the company, Shiner, the critically acclaimed mime and movement artist last seen on Broadway in Fool Moon, re-joins the fantastical musical at the Valentine's Day matinee. Since Jan. 16, actress and TV personality Rosie O'Donnell has played the Cat six shows per week, pumping life into the show's anemic Richard Rodgers Theatre box office. Her final performance was Feb. 10.
Shiner created the role in fall 2000, narrating and hosting Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's somewhat expressionistic tuner drawn from the characters and worlds created by Dr. Seuss. O'Donnell has said publicly that she would possibly return to Seussical in April. Broadway observers have questioned whether the musical can hold on long enough to welcome O'Donnell back (although she is likely to plug the show on her popular TV show between now and then). Producers Barry and Fran Weissler have said in recent weeks that various guest stars could potentially take over some of the show's many featured roles. Donny Osmond was approached, but his schedule would not allow him to join the show soon, according to a spokesperson.
Feb. 14 marks a new performance schedule for Seussical: Mondays and Tuesdays are now dark, two shows are presented Wednesdays, one show Thursdays and Fridays and two shows go up Saturdays and Sundays.
Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty co-wrote the show's book, Frank Galati is credited with direction (though Rob Marshall came in as the show doctor) and Kathleen Marshall is choreographer. The tuner is produced by SFX Theatrical Group, Barry and Fran Weissler and Universal Studios. The show opened Nov. 30, 2000; a cast album on the Decca Broadway label was released Feb. 6 (with Shiner as The Cat, of course). The cast includes Janine LaManna as Gertrude McFuzz, Kevin Chamberlin as Horton the elephant, Michele Pawk as Mayzie La Bird, Anthony Blair Hall as Jo Jo). Also featured are Erick Devine (Ragtime), Alice Playten (Oliver!), Sharon Wilkins (The Life) and Stuart Zagnit (the Public's Wild Party). Also appearing are Shaun Amyot, Joyce Chittick (Cabaret), Jennifer Cody (MTC Wild Party), Natascia Diaz (Bright Lights, Big City), David Engel (Forever Plaid), Sarah Gettelfinger, Justin Greer (Annie Get Your Gun), Ann Harada (The Moment When), Jenny Hill, Catrice Joseph, Michelle Kittrell, Mary Ann Lamb (Fosse, Chicago), Darren Lee (Kiss Me, Kate), David Lowenstein, Monique Midgette, Casey Nicholaw (Saturday Night Fever), Tom Plotkin (Footloose), Devin Richards (Jesus Christ Superstar), William Ryall (Grand Hotel), Jerome Vivona (Kiss Me, Kate) and Eric Jordan Young (Ragtime). Bryan Batt (Saturday Night Live) is Shiner's standby.
Designers are Eugene Lee (set), William Ivey Long (costumes), Natasha Katz (lighting), Jonathan Deans (sound). Tony Walton also assisted with design duties when the show was in previews. David Holcenberg is music director, David Chase is dance arranger, Doug Besterman is orchestrator. Flaherty is vocal arranger.
For ticket information, call (212) 307-4100.