Mantello Directs Cullum in Musical Don Juan DeMarco NY Readings Nov. 12-13

News   Mantello Directs Cullum in Musical Don Juan DeMarco NY Readings Nov. 12-13
 
John Cullum, David Campbell and Mary Beth Piel are the musical theatre stand-ins for Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway for readings, Nov. 12-13, of the still-forming musical, Don Juan DeMarco, based on the 1995 film.

John Cullum, David Campbell and Mary Beth Piel are the musical theatre stand-ins for Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway for readings, Nov. 12-13, of the still-forming musical, Don Juan DeMarco, based on the 1995 film.

Producer Susan Gallin told Playbill On-Line (Nov. 2) that when she saw the romantic comedy, "I walked out of the movie and said, 'This has to be a musical!'"

And now it is. Or, at least, it's a work in progress.

An earlier reading was staged at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in May, and Seattle Rep still has interest in the piece, Gallin said, but nothing is certain. The Nov. 12-13 readings at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre on 42nd Street will show the collaborators -- librettist Craig Lucas, director Joe Mantello, lyricist Ellen Fitzhugh and composer Skip Kennon -- what shape Don Juan is in. The reading is open only to invited guests.

The hope, said Gallin, is to have a staged workshop in New York in the spring of 1999 followed by an out-of-town production, perhaps at the nonprofit Seattle Rep, before a New York production in the fall of 1999 or spring 2000. Cullum (the Brando role) plays a near-retirement shrink who takes Campbell (the Depp role), who claims to be the famed lover, as a client. Piel plays Cullum's wife (the Dunaway role).

Also in the reading's cast are Frank Baiocchi, Sue Cella, Sutton Foster, John Herrera, John Jellison, Ramzi Khalaf, John Lathan, Lisa Leguillou (Cyrano at the Roundabout), Heather MacRae, David Masenheimer, Larry Pine (Picnic), Jane Smulyan, Mary Testa and Sally Wilfert.

Gallin, the producer and/or co-producer of Other People's Money, Angels in America, Cowgirls, Burn This, Stomp, From the Mississippi Delta and other Broadway and Off Broadway works, obtained the musical stage rights (from film director-screenwriter Jeremy Leven) and sought Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss) and Mantello (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Corpus Christi) first because "my experience is as a play person."

Gallin said she had heard Lucas and Mantello were looking for a musical project. "I think everybody's waiting to see the first musical [Joe Mantello] directs," she said.

Gallin then sought Ellen Fitzhugh (Grind, Herringbone) and composer Walter Edgar "Skip" Kennon (Old Globe's Time and Again, Herringbone). Composer Kennon is artistic coordinator of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Cullum earned a reputation as a solid baritone actor in Camelot and (in another shrink role) in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, as well as in leading parts in 1970s' musicals Shenandoah and On the Twentieth Century. He was one of several Broadway Capt. Andys in the recent Hal Prince revival of Show Boat. His late-career visibility soared with a role on TV's "Northern Exposure."

Campbell is an Australian actor-singer who has earned a cabaret following in New York recently. He has performed in the Sydney staging of Les Miserables as Marius, and sang Miss Saigon numbers in the televised "Hey, Mr. Producer!" tribute to Cameron Mackintosh.

-- By Kenneth Jones

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