Fans of Tom Wopat and the musical Will Rogers Follies have only until July 6 to catch the actor in the Tony-winning musical at Augusta, Michigan's Barn Theatre. Wopat has played the ropin' raconteur at the Barn each summer for the past six years, though his commitment to TV's "Cybill" and concert schedule may preclude his returning in `98.
Brendan Ragotzy directs this production of the Cy Coleman/ Peter Stone/ Betty Comden & Adolph Green musical, which recounts the life of satirist Rogers in fanciful, Ziegfeld style. Helping are choreographer Charlie Misovye and rope-trick specialist Shane Partlow.
Best known for playing the lead role on TV's "The Dukes Of Hazzard," Wopat starred on Broadway in Guys And Dolls and City Of Angels. After each performance of Will Rogers Follies, Wopat does a set at the Barn Theatre's Bar. Featured alongside Wopat in Follies are Penelope Alex (Ziegfeld's Favorite), Stacey Plaskett (Betty), Scott Burkell, Cain Bilbrey and Joe Aiello.
Songs in the show, which opened June 24, include "I Never Met a Man I Didn't Like," "Give a Man Enough Rope," "Favorite Son" and "Will-A-Mania."
After Will Rogers rides off into the sunset, the Barn will offer Kander & Ebb & McNally's musical, Kiss Of The Spider Woman (July 8-20), Ken Ludwig's farce, Moon Over Buffalo (July 22-Aug. 3), the Who's rock musical, Tommy (Aug. 5-17), and Webber & Rice's Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Aug. 19-31). Wopat started as an apprentice at The Barn, which has also given a first leg up to such performers as Marin Mazzie (Passion) and Dana Delany (Translations). Now in its 52nd year, The Barn is run by founder Jack Ragotzy and his son, Brendan Ragotzy. The latter came on board as co-producer this year.
For tickets and information on shows at the Barn Theatre on M-96 west of Augusta, call (616) 731-4121 or check out their website at http://www.barntheatre.com.
--By David Lefkowitz