The Off-Broadway musical, Abie's Island Rose, will resurface Nov. 29-Jan. 7, 2001, at the Hollywood Playhouse in Hollywood, FL, producers Alan and Kathi Glist announced.
The Florida-based Glists have exclusive rights to the new musical, about a medical student (trying to shake off his mother's influence) who falls for an Afro-Caribbean student nurse (trying to respect her father's wishes) in the West Indies. Official opening is Dec. 1.
The four-character musical, with book by Ron Sproat, music by Doug Katsaros and lyrics by Richard Engquist and Frank Evans, premiered in spring 2000 at New York's Playhouse 91 under the banner of Jewish Repertory Theatre, in association with Gilford Freely Productions. The Florida run marks the regional premiere.
The Glists are partnering with Broadway producers Kenneth and Sandra Greenblatt (Nine, My One and Only, Zorba, La Cage Aux Folles) and hope to tour the musical.
MAC and Bistro award-winning actress Heather MacRae will reprise her role as Madeline Feinman, "the only Jewish mother in America who doesn't want her son to be a doctor." Actress and cabaret star MacRae, who appeared in Broadway's Hair and Falsettos, is about to release a solo album, "Songs for My Father," dedicated to her Dad, Gordon MacRae, star of the films "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel." The Florida company will include original New York cast members stand-up comedian Steven Rosen as the would-be medical student son, Abie, who falls in love with Rose, Caribbean student nurse, played by Carla Woods. Florida actor James Randolph fills out cast as Rose's Island Priest father. Composer Katsaros, who recently conducted Footloose on Broadway and is orchestrating Broadway's new edition of The Rocky Horror Show will direct. Musical director is Michael Larsen.
Kathi Glist saw the show in a private reading and fell in love with the material. The musical is not based on the classic play Abie's Irish Rose, but is inspired by the script's cross cultural relationship.
"It's one those shows where you walk out smiling," Kathi Glist told Playbill On-Line. "And that doesn't happen enough in the theatre anymore."
Librettist Sproat is best known as the head writer for the ABC cult series, "Dark Shadows." Lyricists Engquist (Outer Critics Circle Award Winner for Kuni-Leml) and Evans (Dinner at Eight) serve on the steering committee of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop in Manhattan.
Set designer Jim Morgan is adapting his New York set for the Florida production as are original lighting designer Mary Jo Dondlinger and original costume designer Daryl Stone.
Kathi and Alan Glist of Glist Productions are best known for their work in the intimate Amaturo Theater of The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL. They presented I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, winner of South Florida's Carbonell Award for Best Musical of the Year. Their shows, The Sheik of Avenue B, and Sophie, Totie and Belle, both had New York runs after extensive tours. In addition to Abie's, the husband-wife teams of Glist-Greenblatt, under their newly formed G Four Productions, are also preparing Men, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Next Year in Jerusalem and Harry and Thelma in the Woods for the 2000-2001 season.
Abie's Island Rose tickets range $27-$29 (previews $23). The Hollywood Playhouse is at 2640 Washington Street in Hollywood, FL, located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. For ticket information, call (954) 922-0404.
— By Kenneth Jones