Lucie Arnaz said she plans to sing one song from the hotly anticipated new musical, The Witches of Eastwick, during her two-week cabaret engagement with Steve March Torme at Feinstein's Feb. 15-26.
Speaking with Playbill On-Line prior to the Feb. 15 start of her first engagement at Feinstein's in New York City, Arnaz offered several insights on her other upcoming Cameron Mackintosh-produced London show.
"I asked Cameron Mackintosh about it," Arnaz told Playbill On-Line, "and we both agreed that some of the songs might not give people the full impression of the show if you took them out of their context. So, we thought about which songs I sing by myself, and then we finally decided on one that I actually don't sing. But I think the song is probably going to be a big hit. It's called 'Loose Ends.' " Arnaz said she would not be surprised if as many as three or four of the songs by Eastwick composer Dana Rowe found life beyond the show.
The Witches of Eastwick has book and lyrics by John Dempsey and Rowe, whose musical The Fix premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 1997. Arnaz said that the fact that she found it hard to label Rowe's music was as good an indication as any that it was original and compelling.
"It doesn't seem like it's a copy of anything," Arnaz said. "It's really not like anything else. It really seems to fit what the piece is about, which is a bit of a parody on religion. The Witches of Eastwick is a black comedy about devils and witchcraft and the music is sort of like 'humorous gothic.' It's like he's [Dana Rowe] taken great old gothic hymns, these dark religious hymns and twisted them. "Some of the music is very grand and that's what some of these religious fanatics are. Any little thing that's the least bit different is an issue. They're sticklers for their rules and regulations. And it's a funny, sad look at small town politics. There's a moral to the story, too. I saw The Music Man recently and our show is like it in a strange way -- it's like a very dark version of that. The Music Man was stupidly funny but also a dear, sweet love story. And both stories have a man coming to a town and changing everything. In The Witches of Eastwick, it's very sexy what happens to these three women after they 'wish' for this man. So it becomes a little like 'be careful what you wish for.' "
Like many people in the theatre community, Arnaz said she was surprised about the conflicting reports that Michael Crawford had been named the Eastwick devil, when it turned out to be Ian McShane. "The report about Michael Crawford was totally premature," Arnaz said. "I believed it too. I read it, and went, 'Oh, OK.'
"Then all of a sudden Cameron Mackintosh called me and said, 'Would you like to know who our devil is going to be?' I said, 'Ah ha! I already know...Michael Crawford.' Cameron said, 'Nooooo...it is not. It's Ian McShane.' And I said, 'Did you know they've reported Michael Crawford?' And he said, 'Yes, but nobody every heard it from me.' "
Arnaz said that while there had been discussions with Michael Crawford, he had conflicts and the producers had always been talking with other people.
"I think Ian McShane is a wonderful choice." Arnaz said, "Cameron described him to me as a 'demonic combination of Dean Martin and George Clooney.' And I think he has the best voice I've heard in musical theatre since Robert Preston."
Asked about speculation for a Broadway run for Witches which is first scheduled to run at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, Arnaz seemed to have an eye on the future of the show. "I'm not the right one to ask," Arnaz said, "but if it were a big hit, of course you'd expect them to bring it to New York -- and I hope I'd go with it. I don't think anyone ever has it in their contract that they'd automatically do that. I have a year in London in my contract, and I would think their intention is for it to come here eventually."
Arnaz said she was thrilled and happy about the show and that she could finally say "Yes," to something. "Once the kids got to a certain age," she said, "I really couldn't take four months to do a movie in Australia. But they are older now and this was an original part and they don't come around that often. So I had to sit the family down and do a bit of a Gypsy Rose Lee 'Okay, it's Rosie's turn!' "
-- By Murdoch McBride