The plan to bring Tune in to reconceive the tour, which was shut down in early October after nine weeks of soft business, had been talked about in theatre circles since the shuttering of the production. Tune was sighted in theatres in the tour's final stops.
The production, freshly reconceived by the 6-foot-6-1/2-inch Tune, begins anew Jan. 17, 2006 at the Hobby Center in Houston. Tune is a native Texan.
The show is inspired by screenwriter-songwriter Leslie Bricusse's 1967 Oscar-winning movie of the same name, and the "Doctor Dolittle" stories by Hugh Lofting.
"What a privilege to be working with the talented Tommy Tune," said producer Van Kaplan, of Pittsburgh CLO, in a statement. "His unique performance style and flair are bound to delight theatregoers across the country. Audiences are in for a treat."
The multi-talented performer, choreographer and director helped create Grand Hotel, The Will Rogers Follies, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the original production of Nine. It's not clear if Tune will be playing a Brit or if his Dolittle will be reconceived as an American. Production sources previously told Playbill.com that Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies) has been wooed to play Dolittle's love interest.
The re-do of the production comes too late for some presenters, who promised the family-friendly show for late 2005 dates. Seattle 5th Avenue Theatre, for example, had to come up with a last minute replacement and is programming a production of The Sound of Music for the holiday slot Dolittle was to fill.
Dr. Dolittle features book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse (Stop the World, I Want to Get Off; The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd; "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"). Bricusse won an Academy Award for the song "Talk to the Animals," first sung on film by Rex Harrison. The score includes "When I Look in Your Eyes," "I've Never Seen Anything Like It" and "After Today."
It has not been made public whether the script and score will be overhauled, or if the Tune touch will simply sweeten what premiered on tour in August. Some work on the script will be done. Book revisions are being credited to Lee Tannen, who was not in the credits of the earlier staging. Audiences can expect dazzling production numbers from the creative choreographer known for spectacular sequences in The Will Rogers Follies, Nine and Grand Hotel.
Additional casting, dates and production details for the tour will be announced at a later date.
Dr. Dolittle is produced by Pittsburgh CLO, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Independent Presenters Network and Columbia Artists Theatricals.