Renowned vocalist and Broadway actress Maureen McGovern will star in a revised version of Jerry Herman's Dear World this summer at Utah's Sundance Theatre. Sundance, which is best known for developing and refining original plays, will mount a new production of the Jerry Herman-Jerome Lawrence-Robert E. Lee musical from June 29 through August 17.
Sundance Theatre Artistic Director Philip Himberg will direct the production, which features a new book by David Thompson. In a recent statement, Himberg explained, "While the Sundance Summer Theatre has usually focused on more established revivals, it has also launched productions of lesser known works, such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," which also starred the McGovern. "Collaborating with Jerry Herman on a new version of Dear World," Himberg continued, "is a unique prospect for both our creative team and our audiences. The pairing of Maureen McGovern's exquisite voice with Jerry's powerful score is a rare opportunity."
Based on Jean Giraudoux's "The Madwoman of Chaillot," Dear World opened on Broadway in 1969 with Angela Lansbury in the lead role of Aurelia, the Madwoman of Chaillot. Although the show languished after 132 performances, Lansbury went on to win a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. McGovern, who has appeared on Broadway in The Pirates of Penzance, Nine and the Sting production of The Threepenny Opera, will perform the role of Aurelia for Sundance in this musical set in Paris shortly after World War II. The cast of 13 also includes Joan Barber as Constance, Max Robinson as the Sewer Man and Jim Pitts as the Prospector.
Composer/lyricist Herman has added three new songs to the score since its Broadway debut. Herman's melodic score features such tunes as "I Don't Want To Know," "And I Was Beautiful," "Kiss Her Now," "One Person" and the title tune.
Goodspeed Musicals presented a production of Dear World in 2000, and since that time, Himberg, Herman and Thompson have made additional changes. The production team at Sundance will comprise musical director Ryan Murphy, choreographer Peter Anastos, set designer Neil Patel, costume designer James Scott and sound designer Bart Schaerrer. Dear World will play the Sundance Institute's outdoor Eccles Stage at Sundance Village beginning June 29. Tickets for all performances are available beginning May 1 in Salt Lake City at 307 West 200 South, 5th Floor, or by phone at (801) 907-4050. The Sundance Theatre is a not-for-profit arts organization founded by Robert Redford; for more information go to www.sundance.org.
—By Andrew Gans