Rodney Hicks fills the shoes of Sammy Davis, Jr. as Joe Bonaparte, the intelligent young man swayed to the world of boxing in Charles Strouse and Lee Adams' Golden Boy, opening in a revamped version Nov. 15 at the Long Wharf Theatre. Keith Glover (In Walks Ed, Thunder Knocking on the Door) directs.
Hicks most recently portrayed Peter in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar and is a former cast member of Rent. Joining him are Tony-winner Michael Rupert (Sweet Charity, Falsettos) as boxing manager Tom Moody, who, with his mistress Lorna Moon (Nana Visitor of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), convince the boy to turn from his father and a promising career in medicine to bet his future on a knockout punch.
Golden Boy ran 569 performances at the Majestic Theatre, opening October 20, 1964. Songs in the original score include "Workout," "Night Song," "Everything's Great," "Gimme Some," "Stick Around," "Don't Forget 127th Street," "Lorna's Here," "This Is The Life," "Golden Boy," "While The City Sleeps," "Colorful," "I Want To Be With You," "Can't You See It," "No More" and "The Fight."
Strouse will be adding a jazzier Harlem touch to the sound of that score while crafting nine new songs with lyrics by Glover. These include "Playing the Game," "Natural African Man," "Yes, Yes, Yes," "Lane's Lament" and "One More Chance." "While the City Sleeps" has been cut from the show.
The director-adaptor has also returned to Clifford Odets’ original book for a reworking. The book had already had work done on it before Golden Boy's opening in 1964; Odets died before completing it and William Gibson (The Miracle Worker) was brought on board to finish the work. Glover will be concentrating only on Odets' work. Completing the Golden Boy cast are Doug Eskew (Mr. Bonaparte), Peter Jay Fernandez (Eddie Sateen), Harriett D. Foy (Anne Jefferson), Marc Damon Johnson (Downsey), Frank Mastrone (Tokio), Milton Craig Nealy (Ronnie Jefferson), David St. Louis (Frank Lane), Ioana Alfonso, John D. Baker, Angela Brydon, Alison Cramer, Mark Myars and Karine Newborn.
Willie Rosario is the choreographer, with George Caldwell as musical director and Michael Olajide Jr. as fight consultant.
Designing Golden Boy are A View from the Bridge and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown's David Gallo (sets), Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk Tony nominee Paul Tazewell (costumes), Robert Wierzel (lights) and David B. Smith (sound)
Tickets are $45-$15. For reservations, call (203) 787-4282.The Long Wharf Theatre is on the web at http://www.longwharf.org.
-- By Christine Ehren