What began as an inspiration by the late director Mike Ockrent will become, Feb. 27, a reality on stage. The Shubert Theatre in New Haven will host the pre-Broadway tryout of the new Don Schlitz-Ken Ludwig musical, Tom Sawyer.
Tom Sawyer with an official press opening Feb. 28. The subscription run goes through March 11. The show opens on Broadway at the Minskoff on April 26, albeit with a separate and slightly larger set.
A few years ago, Ockrent put a few theatre veterans together with a country songwriter and Broadway newcomer Don Schlitz. Schlitz embraced the new challenge on Broadway, even though he is an entertainment veteran: Honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers as ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year for four consecutive years (1989-1991), Schlitz has written fifty Top Ten hits and twenty four Number One songs including the Grammy winning classic, "The Gambler."
Ken Ludwig (Crazy for You, Lend Me a Tenor) wrote the book for Tom Sawyer. Directed by Scott Ellis (1776, She Loves Me, Company), the creative team comprises choreographer David Marques, set designer Heidi Ettinger, costume designer Anthony Powell, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer Lew Mead, fight direction by Rick Sordelet, hair by David Brian Brown, dance and incidental music by David Krane, with music direction by Paul Gemignani and orchestrations by Michael Starobin.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on the Mark Twain novel, will open on Broadway at the Nederlander's Minskoff Theatre on April 26. Tickets are on sale at that theatre's box office now or through Ticketmaster (see below for New Haven ticket information). Actors comprising the ad hoc "recording session cast" for the new musical gathered at the Edison Studio on Oct. 28 to record a CD sampler of the new show. The cast for the show includes:
Tom Sawyer: Joshua Park
Huck Finn: Jim Poulos
Aunt Polly: Linda Purl
Dobbins: John Christopher Jones
Sprague: Tommy Hollis
Sid Sawyer: Marshall Pailet
Becky Thatcher: Kristen Bell
Judge Thatcher: John Dossett
Pap/Doc: Stephen Lee Anderson
Widow Douglas: Jane Connell
Sherriff: Gregg Rainwater
Bellamy: Richard Poe
The Girls: Ann Brown, Elan, Nikki James, Kate Reinders Mekenzie Rosen-Stone
The Boys: Michael Burton, Alex Boyd, Pierce Cravens, Joe Gallagher, Blake Hackler, Tommar Wilson
The Townsfolk: Stacia Fernandez, Tommy Hollis, Donna Lee Marshall, Michael McCormick, Amy Jo Phillips, Richard Poe, Gregg Rainwater, Sally Wilfert, RicStoneback, Elise Santora,
Shubert New Haven tickets range from $28-$60. Various subscription rates are available for the theatre's full season. The Shubert Performing Arts Center is located at 247 College Street in New Haven, CT. For information call (203) 562-5666 or visit www.shubert.com.
—By Murdoch McBride