Loesser Musical, Señor Discretion Himself, Will Star Shawn Elliott at DC's Arena Stage in Spring

News   Loesser Musical, Señor Discretion Himself, Will Star Shawn Elliott at DC's Arena Stage in Spring Shawn Elliott, a veteran of Lincoln Center Theater's Marie Christine and Goodspeed Musicals' Man of La Mancha, is expected to star in Arena Stage's world premiere of Frank Loesser's musical, Señor Discretion Himself, April 9-May 23,Playbill On-Line has learned.

The DC company has not officially announced casting.

With a 1968 libretto by the late Loesser, whose book is being enhanced by the trio of Chicano-Latino artists known as Culture Clash, the show has music and lyrics by Loesser, the major musical theatre writer responsible for Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Charles Randolph-Wright directs. According to Arena notes, Loesser wrote a complete draft of the show (based on a story by Budd Schulberg) but did not polish it before his 1969 death, and the project was shelved.

Randolph-Wright staged Arena's 50th anniversary staging of Guys and Dolls with Maurice Hines; the show subsequently went on national tour. Performances of Señor Discretion play the not-for-profit's Fichandler mainstage. Opening is April 15. Rehearsals begin the week of March 8.

Loesser's widow, Jo Sullivan, was so pleased with Arena's Guys and Dolls she gave permission for the material to be explored. Randolph-Wright and Culture Clash's Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza have been working on the piece in the last year. The show is set in Mexico, far from the urban jungle of Manhattan where Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed succeeded. In the show, "a Mexican town is transformed by the power of learning and the wisdom of the heart." The accompaniment is expected to be kissed with Latin guitars.

The short story originally appeared in Playboy magazine.

According to Steven Suskin's book, "Show Tunes," Loesser spent two years working on the show about a "small-town, middle-aged Mexican baker." Some 17 songs were written for the show, and two — "I Cannot Let You Go," "You Don't Understand Me" — have been recorded. The show apparently had a workshop in 1985, but nothing came of it.

Arena Stage has made its season public on its website, www.arenastage.org.

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