As if he didn't have enough on his plate with Side Man and A View From The Bridge, among other shows, Michael Mayer has been tapped to direct two projects produced by Fox Theatricals, Thoroughly Modern Millie (see the PBOL story, "Report: Bridge's Michael Mayer To Modernize Millie For B'way") and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
As reported by Variety and confirmed by Michael Leavitt of Fox Theatricals, the latter musical will begin in Chicago with a national tour in November (casting notices for the show list Nov. 3), after rehearsals start there in October. St. Louis will be the next stop on the tour (Nov. 24-29, according to a Fox press release), which should reach Broadway in late spring 1999 (casting notices are mentioning March 1999). Aldo Scrofani is co-producing.
As reported in Ken Mandelbaum's column on the InTheater website (July 14) and confirmed by a production spokesperson, roles have been offered to Kristen Chenoweth (Steel Pier, A New Brain), as Patty; B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly, As Thousands Cheer) as Linus; and Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Lion King) as Schroeder. No one is signed yet, however; and there's no news on who'll play Charlie, though rumors that Matthew Broderick might take the role have been officially denied.
Charlie Brown is based on the Charles M. Schulz comic strip "Peanuts," which features such characters as luckless Charlie, Lucy the shrew, blanket-toting Linus and piano-playing Schroeder. Begun Oct. 2, 1950, the strip now appears in more than 2,600 newspapers internationally. The musical comprises loosely arranged songs and vignettes -- a slice of the lives of these elementary-school aged characters. Song include "Happiness Is," "Book Report" and "My Blanket and Me."
Leavitt confirms that this mounting will "take a 1990s perspective on the material. "We've purposely hired Michael Mayer, who's a young, hip director," Leavitt told Variety (Apr. 16). Leavitt told Playbill On-Line the script and songs would undergo few changes; it's the direction and perspective that will give the piece a `90's feel. As he told Variety, "The goal is...to capture the essence of the characters. We're not going to be limited to a lily-white cast." According to the Richard Kornberg press office (reached June 29), news on casting and other aspects of the production should emerge in mid-July.