Martin Guerre, No Longer Bway-Bound, Reaches Seattle, Jan. 22

News   Martin Guerre, No Longer Bway-Bound, Reaches Seattle, Jan. 22 Those who had hoped to catch the new Boublil-Schonberg musical, Martin Guerre, when it reached Broadway this spring, may wish to consider a flight to Seattle instead. The mega-musical, which this week announced it would not reach New York this season, will move into Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theater, starting Jan. 22. The show will stay three weeks, until Feb. 12.

Those who had hoped to catch the new Boublil-Schonberg musical, Martin Guerre, when it reached Broadway this spring, may wish to consider a flight to Seattle instead. The mega-musical, which this week announced it would not reach New York this season, will move into Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theater, starting Jan. 22. The show will stay three weeks, until Feb. 12.

Shortly after Martin Guerre closed up shop at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center, producer Cameron Mackintosh declared it would not march on to Broadway as planned. He blamed the lack of a suitable theatre. However, it has been speculated throughout the Broadway community that, due to the musical's poor reception in the regions, Mackintosh will never bring Martin Guerre to New York.

Mackintosh's announcement came just weeks after it was revealed the new revival of Finian's Rainbow would not reach Broadway this season, also supposedly because it could not secure a theatre in time. The Guerre delay is another blow to Mackintosh, who recently announced he would close his Broadway production of Putting It Together on Feb. 20, far earlier than expected.

Martin Guerre began its stateside life Sept. 17 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and then played Detroit's Fisher Theatre in early December 1999 and opened at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center on Dec. 29 (previews from Dec. 23). The production remained in Washington until Jan. 16.

The rest of the show's pre-Broadway schedule runs as follows: • Seattle, The Fifth Avenue Theater, beginning Jan. 22-Feb. 12
• Los Angeles, The Ahmanson Theatre, beginning Feb. 16-April 8

The play tells the story of the eponymous Frenchman who returns to his family after seven years fighting in the war. He seems a very changed man and, although his wife accepts him back, doubts about his true identity emerge.

Hugh Panaro assumes the title role. Co-starring in Guerre are Erin Dilly as Bertrande and Stephen R. Buntrock as Arnaud du Thil.

Panaro recently starred in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera. Other Broadway credits include Side Show, Show Boat and Les Miz. Buntrock, who spent time as Barrett on Titanic on Broadway, was on the brink of the national tour of Beauty and the Beast when he got the offer to appear in Guerre. Dilly played Billie in the Encores! staging of Babes in Arms and was recently in Off-Broadway's Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight.

Also in the cast of Martin Guerre are Jose Llana, Michael Arnold, John Leslie Wolfe, Kathy Taylor, Angela Lockett, D.C. Anderson, John Herrera and Alvin Crawford.

Conall Morrison directs. An associate director at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Morrison has helmed Boucicault's The Colleen Bawn and Patrick Kavanaugh's Tarry Flynn at that theatre.

There had been talk in the Broadway community that Mackintosh planned to close one of his long-running shows -- such as Miss Saigon or Cats -- to make room for the new production. A spokesman for Martin Guerre, however, denied that scenario.

Martin Guerre's absence from the current Broadway season removes a major contender from the Best Musical Tony contest. So far five new musicals -- Saturday Night Fever, Kat and the Kings, James Joyce's The Dead, Marie Christine and Swing! -- have opened. Expected in the coming months are Contact, which is reopening at the Vivian Beaumont after a sold-out Off-Broadway run, Disney's Aida and The Wild Party.

-- By Robert Simonson