Pete 'n' Keely, the comic musical about a divorced "singing sweethearts" couple reuniting for a TV special, will get an Off-Broadway staging in December, after workshops and an out-of-town gig earlier this year, according to an announcement.
Conceived by Jim Hindman, Mark Waldrop and Patrick Brady, and written by Hindman, the musical comedy will feature cabaret star and actress Sally Mayes (Closer Than Ever, She Loves Me), who appeared in Pete 'n' Keely when it played its first full staging (after workshop readings) in Springfield, MA, in May. Bob Mackie ("The Carol Burnett Show, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public) designs the costumes. Ray Klausen (Waiting in the Wings has been tapped to do the sets.
The show takes place in 1968, five years after the acrimonious divorce of a Steve-and-Eydie-Gorme-like singing couple, Pete and Keely. Song hits from the 1950s and 1960s punctuate the production, to be directed by Waldrop (When Pigs Fly, Bette Midler's recent concerts).
Arrangements and musical direction are by Brady. Avalon Entertainment is expected to present the staging, at a theatre to be announced. A co-star has not been announced.
* Waldrop previously directed a workshop of the show at CAP 21 in New York City in February 2000 and helmed the debut full staging April 25-May 14 at Springfield, MA's City Stage, with Mayes and George Dvorsky in the title roles.
Previously, Pete 'n' Keely used hit songs of the 1950s and 60s to tell the stories of the protagonists' careers and relationship. "The songs are mostly old standards," author Hindman told Playbill On-Line in February. "Sort of like Forever Plaid. This couple are like Steve and Eydie, and they sing all these old swing tunes. But their emotions start bubbling up through the songs; a lot of things that were never said start coming to the surface in a comic way."
Swing-era tunes previously used include "Fever," "But Beautiful," "Young at Heart," "Besame Mucho," "What Now My Love," Steve Allen's "This Could Be The Start of Something Big," "Black Coffee" and "Lover." There was also a "Cross-Country Medley" at the end of the first act, wherein Pete and Keely sing a song named for nearly every state in the union. Original songs, by Waldrop and Patrick Brady, include "Wasn't It Fine" and "Tony 'n' Cleo" (an intentionally terrible, musical update of Antony and Cleopatra).
Due to the Off-Broadway plan, the show will not play a previously announced engagement at Queens Theatre in the Park in December.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz