Bartlett's agent confirmed to Playbill On-Line that the actor-singer is now in negotiations to star as the grumpy plant-shop owner in the upcoming Broadway debut of the famed Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical. Bartlett was offered the role July 1.
The actor, who is currently taking part in the Sweet Charity workshop — now starring Jane Krakowski in the title role — will also return to the cast of Broadway's Chicago Aug. 10. He will play ten performances as Amos Hart while P.J. Benjamin vacations.
Bartlett would replace Lee Wilkof, the original Off-Broadway Seymour who starred as Mushnik in the recent pre-Broadway engagement of Little Shop of Horrors at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, FL. That production, which also starred Alice Ripley as Audrey and Hunter Foster as Seymour, had been scheduled to arrive at Broadway’s Virginia Theatre July 16 prior to an Aug. 14 opening. During the out-of-town run, however, those dates were canceled, and a new director — Jerry Zaks — was hired to replace Connie Grappo, Wilkof's wife. In a statement, producer Marc Routh said at the time, “We feel an obligation to everyone involved with Little Shop, and to the ticket-buying public, to insure that the work we present on Broadway represents the best work we can do. In spite of the great number of talented people involved, the elements of this production did not come together in the way we would have liked.”
As of press time, there has been no official casting announcement for the Menken-Ashman musical. The musical will officially open Oct. 9 at the Virginia Theatre.
A writer/performer/song parodist on the radio program "Imus in the Morning," Rob Bartlett made his Broadway debut as author and star of the short-lived comedy More to Love. He received a Drama Desk Award for his work in Tabletop and also appeared in the City Center Encores! production of Golden Boy. Bartlett's screen credits include "Rob Bartlett's Not for Profit Television Special," which won an Emmy Award; and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." *
The original production of Little Shop of Horrors opened at the old WPA Theatre in Chelsea and then transferred to the Orpheum Theatre in 1982, where it stayed for 2,209 performances. Ashman, who died on March 14, 1991, directed the piece. Edie Cowan was choreographer. The musical, which boasts such tunes as "Suddenly Seymour," "Downtown" and "Somewhere That's Green," was made into a 1986 film starring Ellen Greene as Audrey, Rick Moranis as Seymour, Vincent Gardenia as Mushnik and Steve Martin as Orin, the dentist.