Broadway's got a new disco king and his name is Sean Palmer. Palmer will take over the role of Bay Ridge dancin' fool Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever on July 7, replacing the departing James Carpinello, confirmed a show spokesman.
Palmer should know the footwork by now: he's been Carpinello's stand-by for many a month. His dancing partners will remain the same. Both Paige Price and Orfeh, the two female stars, have signed on for another stint in the musical.
In other news, the disco-dancing denizens of Brooklyn, circa 1977, will soon be spreading the fever across the U.S. Saturday Night Fever, the British musical (based on the film of the same name), which opened on Broadway last fall, will launch a national tour early next year.
The tour will begin Jan. 30, 2001, at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis and then travel to more than 50 other cities over a two-year period. Casting has not been determined. A spokesman for the producers of the tour -- which are the same as the Broadway venture, and headed by Robert Stigwood -- said the production will be of the same size and scope at the New York show. In recent years, Broadway shows such as The Scarlet Pimpernel and Ragtime have been scaled back, both in terms of cast and scenery, before hitting the road.
Saturday Night Fever, the musical inspired by the hit Robert Stigwood film of the same title, opened on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre Oct. 21, after a month of previews which began Sept. 28.
The cast was headed by Carpinello, Price and Orfeh. Also populating the floor at the 2001 Odyssey discotheque are Bryan Batt (as DJ Monty), Paul Castree, Richard H. Blake, Andy Blankenbuehler and Sean Palmer. The film based musical boasts a total cast of 43 and roughly a dozen dance numbers.
Until July 2, Carpinello wears the dancin' shoes of John Travolta as Bay Ridge boy Tony Manero. Price plays Stephanie, Tony's sassy dance partner and love interest.
Price has been around the Broadway scene for many years, touring with A Chorus Line and understudying Smokey Joe's Cafe. She was also in the original cast of Beauty and the Beast and part of the tour of Tommy Tune's Busker Alley. As Stephanie, she will sing such disco classics as "What Kind of Fool" and "How Deep Is Your Love"
As it did in London, the musical attracted a following, selling over $20 million in tickets, and inspiring screaming, hooting and dancing in the aisles among its largely youngish audiences. In recent months, however, attendance has slipped.
Saturday Night Fever features many of the Bee Gees songs from the 1977 movie, including "Stayin' Alive" (which opens the show) and "Night Fever," and others that weren't, such as "Tragedy." Also thrown into the mix are K.C. and the Sunshine Band's "Boogie Shoes," Rick Dees' "Disco Duck," and Barry Gibb's "What Kind of Fool." All the songs are woven into the coming of-age story, often functioning as plot-furthering personal statements by the story's various Brooklyn-based dancin' fools.
Saturday Night Fever is adapted for the stage by Nan Knighton, in collaboration with Broadway newcomer Arlene Phillips (who directs and choreographs), Paul Nicholas and Robert Stigwood (who will produce with Manny Kladitis and David Rocksavage). Director Phillips has served as choreographer on such feature films as "Annie" and "Monty Python's Meaning of Life."
For information on Saturday Night Fever call (212) 307-4100.