Jim Dale will play the title role in the new Broadway bound, Dr. Seuss-inspired musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, composer-lyricist Glen Roven told Playbill On-Line.
If the show makes it to New York City in spring 2003, which is the goal, it will be Tony-winner Dale's first Broadway appearance since 1997's short-lived Candide and his first original stage musical since Barnum, for which he won the Best Actor (Musical) Tony Award.
Ian Judge will direct, according to Roven. As previously reported, Anthony Horowitz is penning the book. The score will be a mix of Roven songs and tunes from the 1953 film, which is a cult musical fantasy classic firmly rooted in the Cold War era — the Atomic Age. John Gunter is doing the set design and Tim Goodchild will create the costumes—both considerable jobs when you consider the whimsical source material. (Previously, David Fielding was to be the set and costume designer.)
Word of a musical adaptation of the film, "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T," first surfaced in 2000, at the time with actor-author Simon Callow directing and Quinny Sacks, a West End and international ballet veteran, choreographing.
Last September, a week before an Equity casting call for Dr. T, the producers chose to postpone the production for a year in the hopes that New York would possess a more hospitable economic climate than it did in the post Sept. 11 days. Roven is an Emmy Award-winner with a long career as a musical director and conductor as well as composer for theatre, film and television, including five major Walt Disney programs. Horowitz is basing his book on a screenplay by Theodor Geisel (aka "Dr. Seuss"). Dr. T is the only film project the late Geisel attempted.
5,000 Fingers of Dr. T tells of a young boy who grudgingly takes piano lessons from Dr. Terwilliker. The youth fantasizes that the evil Dr. T enlists 500 children to play the concerto he's written on the world's biggest piano. Dr. T enrolls them in a huge music institute, and a boy (Bart) tries to defeat his evil plan. In a subplot, the boy's mom is single parent, and Dr. T. tries to romance her. But it's the friendly plumber from next door who's the hero who ends up with the mother and the boy. (The film has an atomic plot point.)
The show is expected to be budgeted at $7-$10 million. Songs include "I Hate Music," "Happy Little Fingers," "No Balls Here," "You Deserve a Prince," Don't Mind If I Do," "Pickle Juice," "Small," "Crazy Music," "Lucky Me" and "If You Want to Rule the World."
David Garrison, of Titanic and Bells Are Ringing fame on Broadway, will star in a new family musical, Norman's Ark. The Glen Roven Jerome Kass show will open July 25 at TheatreFest in Upper Montclair, NJ, and run through Aug. 30.
The composers drew upon the recent floods in the Midwest for their inspiration. Norman Coopersmith and his family are trapped on the roof of their home as water rises all around. To calm his children, Norman begins telling the tale of history's most famous flood and Noah's Ark. But instead of invoking the Biblical characters, he incorporates his family into the story.
Also in Norman's Ark are Rosalind Brown, recently seen on Broadway in One Mo' Time; Mary Gordon Murray, who played Belle in the 1982 Broadway revival of Little Me; and Rodney Hicks, an original cast member of Rent.
According to Roven's website, Ark will sail on from New Jersey to a tour of America, Wales and Israel.
—By Robert Simonson