Steel Pier, the new musical from the team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman) will star Karen Ziemba, Gregory Harrison, Daniel McDonald, Debra Monk and Valerie Wright when it opens on Broadway April 24 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Harrison, who plays Mick, was best known as Gonzo Gates on TV's "Trapper John M.D.," but he's also done theatre, having won Drama-Logue Awards for Picnic (Ahmanson) and Feiffer's Carnal Knowledge (Pasadena Playhouse) and a Best Actor Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for The Hasty Heart.
A Drama Desk winner for And The World Goes `Round, Karen Ziemba appeared in Off-Broadway's 1996 I Do! I Do! revival, and in the Broadway company and national tour of Crazy For You. Other Broadway credits include A Chorus Line, 42nd Street. At NY City Opera, she starred in The Most Happy Fella and 110 In The Shade.
Making his Broadway debut as Bill is film and TV actor Daniel McDonald ("All My Children," Dave).
Debra Monk is a Broadway veteran, having earned a Tony for Lanford Wilson's Redwood Curtain and a Tony nomination for Picnic. Co-author of Pump Boys And Dinettes and Oil City Symphony, Monk also appeared in Nick & Nora and Prelude To A Kiss. Wright comes to the show from touring as Lola in the Jerry Lewis Damn Yankees. Other members of the cast of 30 are Alison Bevan, Joel Blum (Lost In Yonkers), Ronn Carroll, Kristen Chenoweth, John C. Havens, Jim Newman, Timothy Warmen, Leslie Bell, Brad Bradley, Rosa Curry, Robert Fowler, Ida Gilliams, Jack Hayes, JoAnn M. Hunter, Mary Illes, Angelique Ilo, John MacInnis, Dana Lynn Mauro, Gregory Mitchell, Casey Nicholaw, Adam Pelty and Sarah Solie Shannon.
Rehearsals began Jan. 13, with previews to start March 27. Tickets go on sale to the general public Feb. 10 at the box office.
The musical is about marathon-dancing in The Depression of the 1930s--a phenomenon reminiscent of, but not derived from, Horace McCoy's 1935 novel and Sydney Pollack's 1969 film, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
The musical's book, a love story with that chaotic backdrop, is an original by David (And the World Goes 'Round) Thompson. In fact, the musical will mark a reunion for Thompson, who wrote the book for the Kander & Ebb revue And the World Goes 'Round, with director Scott Ellis (She Loves Me, Company), choreographer Susan Stroman (Crazy for You, Big, Show Boat) and star Ziemba.
According to production spokesperson Michael Hartman, songs in Pier include a show-stopper for Monk, "Everybody's Girl," a melodic number for MacDonald, "Leave The World Behind;" a melodic number for Karen Ziemba, "Lindy's Love Bird;" and a duet for Harrison and MacDonald, "Dance With Me."
Kander & Ebb's current hit revival of Chicago is selling out at the Rodgers, and will move to the Shubert Theatre in February to make way for Steel Pier. If Steel Pier is a hit, Kander & Ebb will have to consider the Rodgers their lucky theatre.
Ironically, Steel Pier was to have been the third Kander & Ebb show on Broadway this season. But Roundabout Theatre Company's planned revival of Cabaret has been postponed to 1998. Other Kander & Ebb collaborations include Flora, The Red Menace and The Rink.
David Loud serves as Steel Pier's musical director. Sets are by Tony Walton (the original and current Forum), costumes by William Ivey Long (Crazy For You, Smokey Joe's Cafe), lighting by Peter Kaczorowski (Death Defying Acts, On The Waterfront, Loman Family Picnic), sound by Tony Meola (Forum, Moon Over Buffalo, Face Value). Michael Gibson will orchestrate Kander's music.
Steel Pier is being produced by Roger Berlind, the same Tony winning lead-angel who produced City of Angels. He's also preparing Cy Coleman's The Life for Broadway this season.
Steel Pier, which had an eight-week workshop at the 890 Broadway studios in New York in June and July, 1996, boasted a cast that included Harrison, Ziemba, McDonald, and Monk, as well as Joel (Show Boat) Blum and Ronn (How To Succeed...) Carroll.