Sherie Scott, the rising actress who recently played Amneris in Disney's tryout of Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, has taken over the role of Sabina in the new John Kander-Fred Ebb musical, Over & Over, at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
She replaces actress Bebe Neuwirth, who left the production Dec. 21 because of "artistic differences" with director Eric D. Schaeffer.
Sabina is the maid and narrator in the musical's source material, Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. The musical Elaborate Lives had its world premiere in Atlanta earlier this year and is still in development following the scrapping of its creative team.
Despite the loss of Neuwirth two weeks before the Jan. 6, 1999 first performance of Over & Over, "quick-study" Scott will help the show go on as scheduled. Schaeffer called Scott "a star in the making." The actress has also appeared on Broadway as Maureen in Rent, Sally Simpson in The Who's Tommy and Marty in Grease. She was also Martha in Randy Newman's Faust at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Goodman Theatre.
Press will be invited to Over & Over the week of Jan. 27, according to Signature managing director Paul Gamble, and the show will likely be "frozen" -- no more artistic changes -- Jan. 19, 1999. Kander and Ebb are expected to be fine-tuning the show up to that point. *
As for the Neuwirth split, in a Dec. 23 statement, Schaeffer said it was all about "that old cliche" called "artistic differences."
"This is a new musical," Schaeffer said in the statement. "It's never been staged before. As with any developmental process, all of us are learning as we go along. Working with Bebe helped us define who Sabina is, and what role her character plays in this really wacky musical. That was an enormous help."
Sabina is the maid who caters to the Antrobus family, a clan that survives disasters of Biblical proportions. Wilder's allegory for humanity's resilience first starred Tallulah Bankhead as Sabina. Michele Pawk (Cabaret) played Sabina in an earlier reading of the musical.
Neuwirth most recently appeared as Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago -- a role for which she won a Tony Award. She also won a Tony for her appearance in the 1986 Broadway revival of Sweet Charity.
The original run of Over & Over at the 136-seat theatre was to be Jan. 6-Feb. 14, 1999, but a one-week extension to Feb. 21 was announced. The 1,000 or so available tickets sold out within 15 minutes of being on sale, according to Gamble.
The company includes Dorothy Loudon, Linda Emond, David Garrison, Jim Newman, Mario Cantone, Megan Lawrence and Sharon Wilkins. The book writer is Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), the choreography is by Michael Bennett colleague Bob Avian (Dreamgirls).
For Signature information, call (800) 955 5566.