Pete 'n' Keely to Begin Previews at NYC's Houseman Dec. 2; Mayes to Star

News   Pete 'n' Keely to Begin Previews at NYC's Houseman Dec. 2; Mayes to Star Pete 'n' Keely, the comic musical about a divorced "singing sweethearts" couple reuniting for a TV special, long set for an Off- Broadway run, has its house. The show will begin previews at the John Houseman Theatre on Dec. 2, a press spokesman told Playbill On-Line. Opening is Dec. 14

Pete 'n' Keely, the comic musical about a divorced "singing sweethearts" couple reuniting for a TV special, long set for an Off- Broadway run, has its house. The show will begin previews at the John Houseman Theatre on Dec. 2, a press spokesman told Playbill On-Line. Opening is Dec. 14

Conceived by James Hindman, Mark Waldrop and Patrick Brady, and written by Hindman, the musical comedy will feature cabaret star and actress Sally Mayes (Closer Than Ever, She Loves Me), who appeared in Pete 'n' Keely when it played its first full staging (after workshop readings) in Springfield, MA, in May. George Dvorsky co-stars.

Bob Mackie ("The Carol Burnett Show, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public) will design the costumes. Ray Klausen (Waiting in the Wings) has been tapped to do the sets.

The show takes place in 1968, five years after the acrimonious divorce of a Steve-and-Eydie-Gorme-like singing couple, Pete and Keely. Song hits from the 1950s and 1960s punctuate the production, to be directed by Waldrop (When Pigs Fly, Bette Midler's recent concerts). Avalon Entertainment presents the staging.

* Waldrop previously directed a workshop of the show at CAP 21 in New York City in February 2000 and helmed the debut full staging April 25-May 14 at Springfield, MA's City Stage, with Mayes and Dvorsky in the title roles.

Previously, Pete 'n' Keely used hit songs of the 1950s and 60s to tell the stories of the protagonists' careers and relationship. "The songs are mostly old standards," author Hindman told Playbill On-Line in February. "Sort of like Forever Plaid. This couple are like Steve and Eydie, and they sing all these old swing tunes. But their emotions start bubbling up through the songs; a lot of things that were never said start coming to the surface in a comic way."

Swing-era tunes previously used include "Fever," "But Beautiful," "Young at Heart," "Besame Mucho," "What Now My Love," Steve Allen's "This Could Be The Start of Something Big," "Black Coffee" and "Lover." There was also a "Cross-Country Medley" at the end of the first act, wherein Pete and Keely sing a song named for nearly every state in the union. Original songs, by Waldrop and Patrick Brady, include "Wasn't It Fine" and "Tony 'n' Cleo" (an intentionally terrible, musical update of Antony and Cleopatra).

—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones