Reardon, Gravitte, Lipitz Are Red, Hot and Blue! at Goodspeed, Oct. 13-Dec. 31

News   Reardon, Gravitte, Lipitz Are Red, Hot and Blue! at Goodspeed, Oct. 13-Dec. 31 Peter Reardon will play the role created by Bob Hope when Goodspeed Opera House revives a revised version of the Cole Porter's rare musical, Red, Hot and Blue!, Oct. 13-Dec. 31.

Peter Reardon will play the role created by Bob Hope when Goodspeed Opera House revives a revised version of the Cole Porter's rare musical, Red, Hot and Blue!, Oct. 13-Dec. 31.

Michael McGrath (Little Me) was originally announced for the role, but is staying in Manhattan to host Game Show, a new theatrical venture Off Broadway.

Reardon (Broadway's Meet Me in St. Louis and Passion) will join Debbie Gravitte and Ben Lipitz, who respectively play roles originated by Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante.

Director Michael Leeds is revising the 1936 Russel Crouse-Howard Lindsay script for the Goodspeed run, in East Haddam, CT. The musical offered two of Porter's enduring hits: "It's De-Lovely" and "Ridin' High." A spokesperson told Playbill On-Line six numbers are being cut from the original score and seven from the Porter catalog (including "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye," "Just One of Those Things," "I've Got You Under My Skin") are being interpolated.

The cast of 21 also includes Brian Barry (Rats), Robin Baxter (Peaches), Lesley Blumenthal, Randy Bobish (Bugs), Dianna Bush (Olive), Paul Carlin, Kevin Covert (Leonard), Beth Glover, Billy Hartung (Fingers), Jessica Kostival (Grace), Stephanie Kurtzuba (Jane), Kristin Maloney (Helen), Steve Luker (Eagle-Eye), Jody Madaras, Trish Reidy (Vivian), Vince Trani, Matt Williams (Coyote), and Darlene Wilson (Barbara). The musical director is Michael O'Flaherty, with sets by Ken Foy, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward and lighting by Ken Billington. Andy Blankenbuehler (Fosse, Saturday Night Fever) is choreographer. Director Leeds wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Swinging on a Star at Goodspeed-at-Chester, which transferred to the mainstage and then to Broadway, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical.

The Red, Hot and Blue! plot centers around Nails Duquesne (Gravitte), a former manicurist turned wealthy widow. She holds a lottery to help her lawyer, Bob Hale (Reardon), find the lost love of his life. To assist in the search, Nails and her perennial debutantes arrange for the parole of several prison inmates. The leader, Policy Pinkle (Ben Lipitz), is a sentimental jailbird who resents his release from luxurious prison life. The Senate Finance Committee eventually gets involved. The search for a missing heiress includes this plot point: Her identity can only be determined by a waffle-iron mark on her behind.

Also in the original score are "Down in the Depths," "The Ozarks Are Callin' Me Home," "Red, Hot and Blue," "What a Great Pair We'll Be," "Five Hundred Million," "You've Got Something," "Carry On" and "Ours."

Gravitte has played big-voiced dames in Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Tenderloin (Encores!), Lipitz appeared in Broadway's recent A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

Tickets are $20-$42. For information, call Goodspeed box office (860) 873-8668.

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Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces six musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and at its second stage, Goodspeed-at Chester/The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT. The Terris opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals.

-- By Kenneth Jones