The Pittsburgh Public Theater staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn’s musical, By Jeeves, is still hoping for a Broadway berth this summer, but before that, the production will be filmed in Toronto for a future video release and/or broadcast, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The sold-out Pittsburgh run ends March 4. The production then moves to Toronto to be filmed in a studio, Public artistic director Ted Pappas told the paper. Director-librettist-lyricist Ayckbourn will oversee the filming. Pittsburgh Public and Goodspeed Musicals will partner to put the show on Broadway this summer, when a theatre becomes available, a spokesperson for Goodspeed Musicals told Playbill On-Line. Pappas echoed that in the paper.
The summer plan should allow John Scherer (who plays Bertie Wooster) to play in the musical, 3hree, this spring in Los Angeles, if he chooses to do so. Following the 3hree run at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A., he would presumably join the reconstituted By Jeeves production in summer. Scherer originated roles in the unique trio of musicals that began in Philadelphia in 2000 (By Jeeves actress Donna Lynne Champlin was also in the staging).
The Post-Gazette said Lloyd Webber was expected back in Pittsburgh during the final week of By Jeeves performances. It was previously hoped the show, a critical and audience hit in Steeltown, would slide nicely into the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway before Tony Award eligibility ends May 2, but that theatre has been booked by George Gershwin Alone.
* John Scherer is bumbling Bertie Wooster and Martin Jarvis is his wise manservant, Jeeves, in the Pittsburgh Public Theater's staging of the Lloyd Webber-Ayckbourn musical, By Jeeves, Feb. 1-March 4. Official opening in Pittsburgh was Feb. 9.
Lauded British playwright Ayckbourn himself directs the staging at Pittsburgh's major resident professional theatre. He penned book and lyrics for the musical comedy; Lloyd Webber, who attended Jan. 31 rehearsals and the dress rehearsal, is the famed composer. By Jeeves is a rewrite of Jeeves, a 1975 musical by Ayckbourn and Lloyd Webber that did not find wide fame.
Based on the dry, charming, farcical Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse, By Jeeves takes place in a church hall where Bertie Wooster is scheduled to give a banjo recital. According to production notes, "Jeeves, a lover of music, steals the banjo, forcing Bertie to improvise with a dizzying tale full of romantic entanglements and mistaken identities involving his friends and their love interests."
Lloyd Webber is one of the most successful and popular theatre composers in history, having composed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jeeves (later reworked as By Jeeves), Evita, Variations and Tell Me on a Sunday (later combined as Song & Dance), Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind and The Beautiful Game.