The staging will run at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, July 15-Sept. 24, 2005, and then head out on a national tour produced by Goodspeed. The launch city for the tour is Wilmington, DE.
"Having made its Broadway debut in 1954 with Andrews as its star, The Boy Friend is a jazzy spoof of 1920s musical comedies: English heiress falls in love with delivery boy….and he happens to be the son of a wealthy nobleman," Goodspeed announced. "In the original staging, Andrews portrayed the role of Polly Browne."
Andrews, of course, is a Broadway and film star whose credits include the original My Fair Lady and Camelot, plus Victor/Victoria and the films "Mary Poppins" (for which she won the Academy Award), "The Sound of Music" and "Victor/Victoria," as well as TV's "Cinderella" and "The Julie Andrews Hour."
Andrews' directing career began in August 2003 at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, where she originally created this version of The Boy Friend. There has been speculation since last summer that the staging would have a wider life — the thought being New York City.
"I am very pleased that Goodspeed has chosen to produce this musical as the centerpiece of its 2005 season," Andrews said in a statement. "Goodspeed provides a wonderfully supportive environment for creating high quality productions. It's exciting to direct a production at Goodspeed and then work with their staff to bring it to audiences around the country." Goodspeed executive director Michael P. Price noted in a statement, "As a director, Ms. Andrews combines the experiences of an unparalleled musical career with her intimate knowledge of The Boy Friend to make this classic musical sparkle."
Touring its productions is part of Goodspeed's long-range plan. This tour will mark the first time Goodspeed has solely produced a tour.
"Who can imagine a better way for Goodspeed to launch its first national tour than with Julie Andrews directing The Boy Friend?" Price asked. "We plan to do this every year in an effort to bring the 'Goodspeed Experience' to cities across the country."
After Goodspeed, the tour will play Wilmington, Delaware and continue on to Boston, MA; Greenville, SC; Hershey, PA; East Lansing, MI; Chicago; Green Bay, WI; St. Paul, MN; and other cities to be announced.
Scenic and costume design for The Boy Friend will be by Tony Walton, who is currently directing and designing Goodspeed's revival of Where's Charley?
Walton is Andrews' former husband, and they remain close pals who share a daughter, Emma, who runs the Bay Street. The Boy Friend's choreography will be by John DeLuca.
The Boy Friend, which originated in London's equivalent of Off-Broadway in 1953, has book, music and lyrics by Sandy Wilson. Anne Rogers starred in London (it transferred to the West End in 1954), but a young Julie Andrews was picked to play flapper Polly for Broadway.
It would play more than 2,000 performances in London, and 485 performances on Broadway.
Goodspeed Musicals "is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre," producing six musicals each season: three at the historic Goodspeed Opera House and three at The Norma Terris Theatre in nearby Chester.
For more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.