The cast of the "new" Gershwin musical, They All Laughed!, at Goodspeed Opera House this summer is expected to include James Ludwig (Suburb, john & jen) and Tobi Foster (Les Miserables), among others.
Goodspeed Musicals, operating out of the historic opera house in East Haddam, CT, will offer the world premiere of librettist Joe DiPietro's new Gershwin-punctuated musical, They All Laughed!, in association with producer Jonathan Pollard, who would take the show to a future commercial run. Playbill On-Line has learned that the cast will also include Michael McGrath (Little Me, Game Show), Mark Lotito (Marie Christine, The Most Happy Fella) and Donna English (Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back!, Goodspeed's On the 20th Century), among others. An official cast announcement has not been made.
The new tuner has a book by DiPietro, author of Off-Broadway's Over the River and Through the Woods, and a score pulled from the George and Ira Gershwin catalog. It plays June 29-Sept. 22 at Goodspeed.
They All Laughed! is drawn from the 1926 Gershwin-Guy Bolton-P.G. Wodehouse tuner, Oh, Kay!, which gave the world, "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Dear Little Girl" and "Do, Do, Do." John Rando (The Dinner Party, Urinetown) directs and Joey McKneely (The Life) choreographs.
They All Laughed! is a Goodspeed production in association with Jonathan Pollard, Dena Hammerstein and Bernie Kukoff (who are also responsible for producing DiPietro's Off-Broadway hits I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Over The River And Through The Woods). Producer Pollard previously said this is "the first regional step" toward its commercial future.
"Joe was approached by the Gershwin family to do this project," Pollard told Playbill On-Line Nov. 10, 2000. "He created a Kaufmanesque farce — a screwball comedy with glorious music. What is wonderful about this project is that it's not a huge musical, it's a musical with three sets very much in the tradition of the old-fashioned glorious musicals. It's not a 'mega musical.'"
Pollard said DiPietro took plots points and some songs from Oh, Kay! and reinvented a script. It's still set in the 1920s, during Prohibition.
They All Laughed! was first performed in a series of industry readings in January 2000 with a cast that included Roger Bart, Laura Benanti, Kevin Chamberlain, Donna English, Tovah Feldshuh and Mary Beth Peil.
It's not the first time the songs of George and Ira Gershwin have been plundered for "new" shows: My One and Only, Crazy For You and The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm were all new Broadway constructions using old songs.
— By Kenneth Jones