James Mitchell created the Byrd role in the 1953 M-G-M movie musical The Band Wagon. In the beloved backstage film that gave the world "That's Entertainment!," Byrd was a classical ballet choreographer romantically attached to Gaby Gerard (played by Cyd Charisse), a ballet star crossing over to musical theatre.
Tony Award-nominated Douglas Carter Beane, librettist for Dancing in the Dark, has reinvented Byrd and Gerard as members of the modern dance community rather than legit ballet. As previously reported on Playbill.com, Mara Davi (A Chorus Line, The Drowsy Chaperone) will play Gaby, who is drawn to her new co-star, Tony Hunter (created by Fred Astaire), causing tension between Gaby and Paul.
LaCause wrote on his website (www.sebastianlacause.com), "I'm playing Paul Byrd, the modern-dance choreography genius who is brought in to choreograph a new musical written by Lily [played by Beth Leavel] and Lester Marton [played by Adam Heller] for has-been movie star Tony Hunter…and mayhem ensues. It's a great supporting role that I'm excited to sink my teeth into."
LaCause and Tony Award winner Leavel worked together in 1997 in Hartford Stage Company's production of Fascinating Rhythm. Casting has not been officially announced by The Old Globe, although Patrick Page previously told Playbill.com he will be playing Jeffrey Cordova, the artsy legit director character created by Jack Buchanan. No word yet on who will play the Astaire role of Tony.
According to The Old Globe, "In Dancing in the Dark, Tony Hunter is a Hollywood star with a career on the wane. Jeffrey Cordova is a Shakespearean actor-manager with a taste for high art. Together they team up with a diverse assortment of theatrical personalities to create a new musical that's strictly 'entertainment.' With a score packed with classics like 'A Shine on Your Shoes,' that quintessential ode to show business 'That's Entertainment!,' and the title song, Dancing in the Dark is the musical comedy that will have audiences dancing in the aisles."
For more information, visit www.TheOldGlobe.org or www.sebastianlacause.com.