Former Me and My Girl star Jane Summerhays has replaced Donna McKechnie in the limited run of Rockwell, the new musical based on the life of artist Norman Rockwell.
Summerhays, who received a Tony nomination for her work in Me and My Girl, has stepped into the role that was to be played by McKechnie, who had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. Also starring Show Boat leading man Mark Jacoby, the musical begins performances May 17.
The new work will also star Fosse's Stephanie Pope, Ragtime's Jim Corti and Chris Grabher. Created by the sister team of Eileen Bluestone Sherman (book and lyrics) and Gail C. Bluestone (music), the show was inspired by Rockwell's autobiography "My Adventures as an Illustrator." The upcoming production boasts direction from TV veteran Conrad John Schuck and choreography by former New York City Ballet dancer Robert La Fosse. The remainder of the creative team comprises Joshua Sherman (set and costume design), Jason Cina (lighting design) and Eddie Guttman (musical direction) with Jared Coseglia serving as the assistant director.
In addition to Me and My Girl, Jane Summerhays has played leading roles in The Real Inspector Hound, Taking Steps, Lend Me a Tenor, Sugar Babies and A Chorus Line. She starred in the national companies of Sugar Babies and Oh, Kay!, and her television credits include "NY News," "The Cosby Mysteries," "Working It Out," "One Life to Live" and "All My Children."
Mark Jacoby received a Tony nomination for his role as Gaylord Ravenal in the Hal Prince revival of Show Boat and earned a Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in Sweet Charity. His other theatrical credits include the title role in The Phantom of the Opera as well as The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nine and Robert and Elizabeth. Stephanie Pope, who will join the Broadway company of Chicago on June 4, played the role of Velma Kelly for nearly two years throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her many Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly's Last Jam, The Will Roger Follies, Sweet Follies, Sweet Charity and Big Deal.
Produced by the Blue Heron Theatre with the permission of the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company, Rockwell begins performances at the Blue Heron Arts Center (123 East 24th Street, New York) on May 17 with an official opening on May 19; the limited run ends June 2. Tickets are priced at $19 and are available by calling the theatre's box office at (212) 979-5000, ext. 29.
—By Andrew Gans