First, it was mysteriously postponed. Then the director mysteriously resigned. Now, the world premiere of William Finn's musical The Royal Family, is no longer a part of Seattle Repertory Theatre's 1997 Season. According to Seattle Rep's Communications Director Roxy Moffit, the Rep will officially announce a replacement show Feb. 6.
The Royal Family is a new William Finn (Falsetto's) musical with a Richard Greenberg (Eastern Standard) libretto, based on the 1927 Kaufman-Ferber comedy of the same name. Produced by Fran and Barry Weissler, ...Family was originally scheduled to open at Seattle Repertory Theatre in December 1996, and transfer to Broadway in 1997. In September, Seattle Rep postponed ...Family until late April, for no revealed reason.
In October, director Tommy Tune decided it would be the second time in a year that he would withdraw from a musical produced by Fran and Barry Weissler (The Weisslers' musical Busker Alley closed out of town in December 1995 when Tune slipped during a dance number and broke his foot). The New York Times reported that Tune had, "informed the Weisslers and the writers that he simply cannot do it," and quoted an assistant saying the decision was "so intensely private" that he didn't feel it was "appropriate to talk about in a public forum."
Although Seattle Rep seriously intended to continue it's staging of the musical with a new director, Moffit said that "The Weisslers have not been able to successfully replace Tommy Tune with a replacement of that stature. . .It [the production as scheduled] doesn't seem to be a reality...we are finding a replacement [show]."
Broadway producer Fran Weissler told Playbill On-Line, "We are talking to a terrific director, who shall remain nameless, that has been taking several meetings with Finn and Greenberg." Weissler also said that ...Family, about an eccentric theatrical family resembling the Barrymores, "is too wonderful to ever let go of," and will probably be workshopped in New York-- although "nothing is set in cement" and "we will have more information in about a month." -- By Blair Glaser and Robert Viagas