It's official. Sherie Rene Scott, late of Aida and The Last 5 Years, will star in the title role of Debbie Does Dallas, the new satiric Off Broadway stage comedy inspired by the adult film of the same name.
The play-with-music (no one has yet called it a musical) about the women who help a smalltown girl toward the goal of leading cheers for the Dallas Cowboys — giving it all they've got — begins previews Oct. 8 at the Jane Street Theatre and opens there Oct. 29. Scott had been reported as being in talks for the lusty role prior to the Aug. 16 casting announcement.
The cast also includes Mary Catherine Garrison, Caitlin Miller, Tricia Paoluccio, Del Pentecost, Jon Patrick Walker and Jama Williamson. Additional casting will be released later.
"Once upon a time in a small town a little girl with stars in her eyes dreamed of growing up, moving to the city and making it big," according to the official tongue-in-cheek announcement of the show. "That little girl grew up to be Debbie. Based on the American film classic, Debbie Does Dallas is a coming of age story about a group of ambitious young women who want nothing more than to help their friend Debbie get a spot on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad. It is perhaps the most important theatrical event of the 21st century. No, not perhaps — definitely."
The production takes major liberties with the film, and adds original contemporary music, by Andrew Sherman. Erica Schmidt, who adapted the script, will direct. Tom Kitt is musical supervisor. The artistic team is Jennifer Cody (choreography), Juman Malouf (costumes), Christine Jones (sets), Shelly Sabel (lighting) and Laura Grace Brown (sound). Debbie Does Dallas was conceived by Susan L. Schwartz. The show made its way from the curtained section of video rental stores to the stage as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in 2001. The highly anticipated adaptation received mixed reviews but sold out its run in the downtown Manhattan festival.
"We took the film and took some liberties with it, in terms of adding music and dance," producer Michael Rego of the Araca Group previously told Playbill On Line, of adapter-director Erica Schmidt's work. "It's a much more theatrical event now as opposed to just a film on stage."
When asked how they address the sex of the plot, he said, "We try to deal with it in a clever, surprising, satirical way; sometimes with song, sometimes with dance. That, hopefully, is where most of the comedy and fun of the show comes through."
Rego explained this "more vaudevillian" mounting versus the Fringe staging is "pretty radically different, you wouldn't recognize it. It's a totally new and different animal." The cast is smaller for Off Broadway (8 actors) than it was in the Fringe run (16 actors). Three men will play multiple roles opposite the five actresses who will play Debbie and her four friends Lisa, Donna, Roberta and Tammy.
The Off-Broadway production (produced by arrangement with VCX Limited) is produced by The Araca Group (Urinetown, the Musical, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune), Jam Theatricals and Waxman-Williams Entertainment.
Jane Street Theatre is at 113 Jane Street. The performance schedule is 8 PM Mondays-Thursdays, 8 & 10:30 PM Fridays and 7 & 10 PM Saturdays. Tickets ($30-$35) are available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.
Susan L. Schwartz, producer-adapter-star of the Fringe production of DDD, previously told Playbill On-Line that the idea for the production "came out of a discussion with a friend about how funny it would be to see a porn film being read on stage." A year later, the film-turned-stageshow made its world premiere, following some awkward research moments. Schwartz explained she went to the video store and couldn't find the title so she had to ask the clerk. "He smirks and I said, 'No, it's for an Off Off-Broadway show that I'm doing,' and he goes, 'Sure it is,'" Schwartz said.