She will be "DeMented" in movie theatres soon, care of John Waters, but until then, Alicia Witt is bringing The Gift to Los Angeles as an exotic dancer with a little special something. Witt's Los Angeles' stage debut begins July 13 for a run through Aug. 27 at the Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood. Andy Fickman (Reefer Madness) directs this world premiere also starring Broadway's James Barbour, Burke Moses and Robert Torti.
Witt made her film debut at 14 in David Lynch's "Dune" before landing a reoccurring role on his "Twin Peaks." For four years, she performed the role of Zoey on Cybill Shepard's series, "Cybill." Recent film stints have included "Mr. Holland's Opus," "Urban Legend" and the upcoming "Cecil B. DeMented" and "Playing Mona Lisa."
Barbour and Moses both performed in the Broadway and Los Angeles productions of Beauty and the Beast, as the Beast and Gaston respectively. Barbour, star of the upcoming Jane Eyre, also played Billy Bigelow in the Tony Award-winning Carousel. Torti was Tony nominated for Starlight Express and appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
In The Gift, five thirtysomething guys gather together at a bachelor party, only to realize that their college idealism has been trumped by real life's experiences. Compounding their epiphany is the special "gift" brought by the sexy exotic dancer to the party.
The musical's book is by Robbie Fox, whose screen credits include "So I Married An Axe-Murderer" and "Twice Upon a Time." His cousin Steve Fox is a composer and lyricist who has worked with George Benson, the Duke Ellington orchestra and Roberta Flack, among others. Fickman won many awards for his production of Reefer Madness including the L.A. Ovation and L.A. Drama Critic's Awards. He is senior vice president of Middle Fork Productions, and recently helped produce the hit film "Anaconda." Fickman plans to direct Madness in New York in the fall of 2000.
Two Reefer Ovation-nominated vets, Larry Poindexter and John Kassir (Three Guys Naked From the Waist Down), are featured. Also in the cast are Harry Murphy, Luann Aronson and Shanola Hampton.
Designing The Gift are Bradley Kaye (sets), Rand Ryan (lighting), Bernard Fox (sound) and Dick Magnanti (costumes). David Manning is the musical director.
Tickets are $40-$35. The Tiffany Theatre is located at 8532 Sunset Blvd. For reservations, call (310) 289-2999.
-- By Christine Ehren
and Willard Manus