Playbill.com has learned that Davi — who most recently played "Show Off" Janet van de Graaff in Broadway's The Drowsy Chaperone — will co-star as the dancer who has trouble adjusting to the demands of Broadway musicals in The Old Globe production of Dancing in the Dark. Davi will play Gabrielle Gerard, a role that was created by dancer-actress Cyd Charisse in Dancing in the Dark's source material — the 1953 M-G-M movie musical, "The Band Wagon."
Librettist Douglas Carter Beane (The Little Dog Laughed, Xanadu), choreographer Warren Carlyle (A Tale of Two Cities in Florida, Stairway to Paradise at Encores!) and director Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) are reinventing the property, retaining the film's songs by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, and interpolating others by D&S.
In the picture, the character of Gaby is a coolly sexy ballet star who spars with Fred Astaire (as tap-dancer Tony Hunter) when she is asked to co-star in his new musical. In the new stage version, Gaby is now a modern dancer (more Martha Graham than Anna Pavlova), and Tony is a song-and-dance man (more Bing Crosby than Astaire).
On film, the pair famously danced in Central Park to a haunting instrumental of Dietz and Schwartz's "Dancing in the Dark," and Charisse (dubbed by India Adams) later sang the ebullient "New Sun in the Sky."
The Old Globe has not officially announced casting, but Playbill.com has learned that Patrick Page will play artsy director-actor Jeffrey Cordova, Adam Heller will play musical comedy writer Lester Marton, and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel will play writer Lily Marton, Lester's wife. Full casting — including the role of Tony Hunter — is expected to be officially announced shortly.
Dancing in the Dark, based on the "Band Wagon" screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, will have its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego March 4-April 13. There is hope for a Broadway future, with commercial producers waiting in the wings.
For more information, visit www.TheOldGlobe.org.