Has it really been six years since Cathy Rigby flew (by Foy) across the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, singing, crowing and vowing "I won't grow up!"? Well, audiences will now have another chance to catch the gymnast turned-actress in the role of J.M. Barrie's mischievous and eternal adolescent, Peter Pan.
A new production of the Charlap/Leigh/Styne/Comden/Green Peter Pan musical will begin touring in November 1997 in California and come to such cities as Atlanta, Ottawa, Milwaukee and Cleveland, with Broadway eyed for fall 1998.
Director Eli Simon has staged over 60 plays at such institutions as CA's South Coast Repertory, Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Choreographer Patti Colombo choreographed Radio Gals at CA's La Mirada as well as the West Coast premiere of Drood! starring George Rose.
Production spokesperson David Balsom promised "a whole new look and design for the show. We'll also be recording a cast album, which we didn't get to do last time."
Designing Peter Pan will be John Iacovelli (set), who has worked at the Old Globe, Dallas Theatre Festival and PA's Walnut Street Theatre; Shigeru Yaji (costumes), winner of 28 DramaLogue Awards; and Martin Aronstein (lighting), who worked on the Broadway productions of George M! and The Royal Hunt Of The Sun. Originally produced on Broadway in 1954, Peter Pan has music by Moose Charlap and Jule Styne; and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Barrie's original 1904 play was based on several chapters that appeared in in his 1902 novel, The Little White Bird. Songs include "I've Got To Crow," "Neverland," "Distant Melody" and "Hook's Waltz."
Fran Soeder directed the 1990-91 Broadway revival with Rigby, which also starred Stephen Hanan as Captain Hook. The original Peter and Hook were Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard. New York audiences recently got another look at Hook when Mabou Mines' Peter And Wendy played at Off-Broadway's New Victory Theatre in February.
Of returning to the role, Rigby was quoted as saying, "Never has a role been as magical for me. When I fly over the audience at the end of the show, and I look out into the house, everyone becomes childlike and flies with Peter. It's exciting to see people transported that way. I see tears in people's eyes, I see them holding their children -- the joy I see in their faces is overwhelming. Peter is truly an inspiration for children of all ages...he never finds a dead-end, only a detour."
Here are the announced dates for the tour (subject to change):
Nov. 7: La Mirada, CA.
Dec. 23-28: Sacramento, CA.
Dec. 30-Jan. 4, 1998: San Diego, CA
Jan. 5-6: Palm Desert, CA
Jan. 9-11: Lubbock, TX
Jan. 13-14: Springfield, MO
Jan. 16-18: Oklahoma City, OK
Jan. 20-25: Cincinnati, OH
Jan. 27-Feb. 1: Cleveland, OH
Feb. 3-Feb. 8: Green Bay, WI
Feb. 10-15: Washington DC
Feb. 17-22: Baltimore, MD
March 3-8: Milwaukee, WI
March 10-15: Richmond VA
March 31-April 5: Hartford, VA
April 7-12: Ottawa, Canada
April 21-May 3: New Haven, CT
May 5-10: Norfolk, VA
May 12-May 17: Indianapolis, IN
June 9-14: Tulsa, OK
June 17-21: Fort Lauderdale, FL
June 23-28: Atlanta, GA
June 30-July 12: Dallas, TX
Further dates will be announced for the tour, to continue through early 1999.
Spokesperson Balsom said of Rigby, "She flies better than anyone flew before; she looks as natural in the air as she does on the ground. Remember, she's just in her early 40's. She retired from public life when she was 19! Few people have taken on a whole new life the way she has."