Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie) writes both music and lyrics for the new show. His wife and sometime creative partner, Barbara Siman, choreographs.
Rupert, who snagged his Tony for Sweet Charity in 1987, is joined by David Brummel, Jordan Bennett and actress M. Sappington, also known as Margo Sappington, the choreographer of Oh! Calcutta!
The musical that explores the feelings and desires of a range of men previewed Jan. 4-6 on the Coconut Grove Mainstage. Performances continue to Jan. 30.
"Composed entirely of brand-new songs, Real Men explores the lives of everyday men, and their relationships with women, their children, their parents, and with each other over a lifetime," according to Coconut Grove. "It's all getting more complicated," observed Strouse, in a statement earlier this year. "Marriage is temporary, girls' navels are exposed on the street, and men kiss each other. So I've done what any man would do - write a show about it!"
Composer is best known as a composer of such smash musicals as Bye Bye Birdie and Annie and the lesser-known but respected Rags, Golden Boy and Annie Warbucks. His musical, Marty, based on the TV and film property of the same name, is in development. His partner on that project is Lee Adams, with whom he wrote Birdie, Applause, Golden Boy, Bring Back Birdie, It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman! and other shows.
Coconut Grove producing artistic director Arnold Mittelman said in a statement, "It is with great excitement and much anticipation that I look forward to Charles Strouse's Real Men. Although his compositional genius has long been a part of my life, I have also come to understand and appreciate the insight that his lyrics can provide. With a remarkable outpouring of insight and melody, Charles Strouse has created Real Men."
The musical is directed by Jeffrey B. Moss and choreographed by Barbara Siman. Musical direction for Real Men is by Denes Van Parys.
Winner of three Tony Awards for Annie, Applause and Bye Bye Birdie, Strouse was awarded the Coconut Grove Playhouse's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Real Men marks the first collaboration between Strouse and the Coconut Grove Playhouse since the playhouse's production of Rags during the 1998-99 season.
Jordan Bennett's credits include Broadway's Cyrano: The Musical and Shenandoah and the national tour of Les Misérables. Brummel's work includes Broadway's Sweet Smell of Success, Bells Are Ringing, Nine, Evita, Oklahoma!, Annie and more
Rupert was nominated for Tonys three times: for The Happy Time, Falsettos and Sweet Charity. He won for playing nervous Oscar in the 1987 revival of Sweet Charity. On tour and on Broadway, he appeared as Tateh in Ragtime.
M. Sappington's professional debut was with Joffrey Ballet. Her Broadway credits include Sweet Charity and Promises, Promises. Her choreography credits include work on Broadway, in grand opera, for music videos and with international ballet companies. M. Sappington choreographed and appeared in the original Oh! Calcutta! in New York, Los Angeles and London and later staged it at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Coconut Grove Playhouse credits include Miami Lights (choreography/featured role), Song and Dance (choreography) and Oh! Calcutta! (choreography/featured role).
Designers for Real Men are Kirk Bookman (lighting), James Noone (scenic), Steve Shapiro (sound), Ellis Tillman (costumes).
Choreographer Siman's credits include Mayor in New York, Nightingale (English premiere); Annie; Annie Get Your Gun (Korea); Little Me (York Theatre Company); Rags (Paper Mill Playhouse); No Way to Treat a Lady (Coconut Grove Playhouse).
For ticket information, call (305) 442-4000 or visit www.cgplayhouse.org.