Kerry Butler, Karen Ziemba and Jeff McCarthy Begin The Opposite of Sex Musical, Sept. 25

News   Kerry Butler, Karen Ziemba and Jeff McCarthy Begin The Opposite of Sex Musical, Sept. 25 Broadway's Kerry Butler, David Burtka, Karen Ziemba and Jeff McCarthy star in the world premiere of the musical The Opposite of Sex, which starts previews at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, Sept. 25.
Promotional art for The Opposite of Sex
Promotional art for The Opposite of Sex

The new musical adaptation based on the 1998 film starring Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Ivan Sergei and Johnny Galecki will open the season Oct. 2 at the California venue for a run through Oct. 24.

Butler (Little Shop of Horrors) stars with Burtka (Gypsy) in the musical opposite McCarthy (Urinetown), Ziemba (Never Gonna Dance) and a cast that features John Bolton (Titanic), Donna Vivino (Hairspray tour) and local actors Joe Mandragona and Ian Scott McGregor.

Douglas J. Cohen (No Way to Treat a Lady) provides music and lyrics for The Opposite of Sex with a book — based on Don Roos' screenplay — by Cohen (Glimmerglass,The Gig) and Robert Jess Roth (director of Beauty and the Beast). Roth is also slated to direct the show billed as an "explosive, quirky, fun and politically-incorrect musical romp."

"The Opposite of Sex" followed the conniving 16-year-old Dedee Truitt (Ricci) as she moves in with her now-wealthy gay half-brother Bill and ends up pregnant by his new boyfriend Matt. Bill's best friend and sister of his rich late lover, Lucia (Kudrow), is the only one who sees through Dedee's scheme.

Magic Theatre artistic director Chris Smith told Playbill On-Line the musical is a faithful adaptation of the film, describing it with words like "edgy," "funny" and "a little potty-mouth." "I think it's exactly what the musical theatre scene needs," Smith said. "Something that's built in the mode of Falsettos, a character-driven piece, something that isn't necessarily only playing to sort of tired musical theatre conventions. This is a new take on 'boy gets girl.' It will appeal not only to connoisseurs of musical theatre [but] to an audience that a lot of Broadway producers would salivate for."

On the show's "potty-mouth" nature, Smith explained "Folks that I came of age seeing their works, emerged with the lyrics of Cole Porter; with the kind of sophisticated banter and wit that I think this is in that tradition. [But] it's hipper and inflicted with our current culture."

Butler's former Hairspray castmate Matthew Morrison was originally announced to star in the role Burtka now plays, but left the production due to his casting in the upcoming ABC television adaptation of Once Upon a Mattress starring Tracey Ullman and Carol Burnett.

Michael Starobin — the 2004 Tony Award winner for Assassins — will provide orchestrations for the new musical. Musical direction is handled by Brad Haak.

The design team features Derek McLane (set), Norm Schwab (lighting), and Daryl Frame (sound). Patricia Field ("Sex and the City") serves as costume consultant while Leslie Bernstein is costume coordinator. Rick Sordelet handles fight coordination.

The Opposite of Sex underwent a workshop production in Dec. 2003 featuring a cast of Kerry Butler, Stephen Bogardus, Ana Gasteyer, Jeff McCarthy, Matthew Morrison, Barrett Foa and Keith Nobbs. Producers Barry and Fran Weissler are reportedly attached to the project which is said to be Broadway-bound.

Butler recently appeared on Broadway as Audrey in the revival of Little Shop of Horrors following her turn in Hairspray as Penny. Other credits include Beauty and the Beast, Blood Brothers and Les Misérables.

Burtka has also appeared in Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? on Broadway and The Play About the Baby Off-Broadway. His other credits include Beautiful Thing, Children of Eden (Paper Mill Playhouse) and the national tour of Beauty and the Beast.

The Magic is also presenting the world premieres of Charles Grodin's The Right Kind of People and three other works in repertory as well as the American premiere of Rebecca Gilman's The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and Wesley Moore's A Reckoning.

Tickets for The Opposite of Sex at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center (Building D) in San Francisco, CA are available by calling (415) 441-8822. For more information, visit the Magic Theatre website at www.magictheatre.org.

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