Tony Award-winner Tune is star and director of this revamped national tour of the Leslie Bricusse musical about the veterinarian who can talk to the animals, but has a less easy time with members of the human race.
In recent months, Tune, choreographer Patti Colombo, musical director Michael Biagi and writer Lee Tannen have been working to overhaul the touring production that was shut down by producers in October following lackluster business. A new cast was brought in by Tune.
The producers hope that Tune's name above the title will help stimulate ticket sales.
"Houston's own Tommy Tune began his theatrical career in his home town and now has chosen Houston to begin his latest musical theatre extravaganza," said Frank Young, founder and president of Theatre Under The Stars, which is co-producing. "No artist in America is more qualified to turn this already successful book and film into a magical stage event than Tommy. As a triple threat actor/singer/dancer, the title role is tailor made to his performing genius. And his Tony-winning staging talents will bring a new dimension to this wonderful musical for children of all ages."
Three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty plays Emma Fairfax, the woman in love with a man who talks to the animals, in the freshened national tour. The casting of Hoty (Footloose, City of Angels) had long been rumored but not confirmed until early December 2005. Tune directed Hoty in The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and The Will Rogers Follies. Twelve-year-old newcomer Aaron Burr was handpicked by Tommy Tune to play Chee-Chee the chimpanzee. In summer 2005, Burr won the Greatest Dancer competition on ABC's "Good Morning America," judged by Tune and a handful of other celebrity judges.
Filling out the cast are Joel Blum, Amanda Braddock, Jessica Leigh Brown, Kristin Dawn Calgaro, Matthew Crowle, Sandi DeGeorge, Jack Doyle, Mike Erickson, Joe Jackson, Lesley M. Klose, Scott Leindecker, Allan Mangasser, Amanda Rose, Jonathan Sandler, Sarah Stiles, Sally Ann Swarm, Elisa Van Duyne, David F.M. Vaughn, Erin Webley, Steven Wenslawski and Jessica Wu. Adam Cates and Denise Payne are the swings.
Dr. Dolittle features a book, music and lyrics written by Leslie Bricusse. Book revisions are by Lee Tannen.
This is a reconceived mounting of the national tour that closed in October after only nine weeks on the road.
The score, drawn from the 1967 film of the same name, includes the Oscar-winning "Talk to the Animals," plus "When I Look in Your Eyes," "I've Never Seen Anything Like It" and "After Today." The film and show were inspired by Hugh Lofting's stories.
The 2005 creative team remains: costume designer Ann Hould-Ward (with new costumes for Tune by Dona Granata), set designer Kenneth Foy, lighting designer Ken Billington and puppet designer Michael Curry (The Lion King).
Following the two-week Houston engagement, Dr. Dolittle will play The Buell Theater in Denver (Jan. 31–Feb. 12); The Pantages in Los Angeles (Feb. 21–March 5); the Civic Theatre in San Diego (March 7–12); the Civic Theatre in Tucson (March 14-19); Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa (March 21-April 2); DuPont Theatre in Wilmington (April 7-16); the Palace Theatre in Cleveland (April 18-30); Providence Performing Arts Center (May 2-7); Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh (May 9-14); the Fox Theatre in St. Louis (May 16-28); Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady (May 31-June 4); DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids (June 6-11); Community Center Theater in Sacramento (June 13-25); Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR (June 27-July 2); and the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago (July 18-30).
Additional engagements will be announced at a later date.
Dr. Dolittle is produced by Pittsburgh CLO, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Independent Presenters Network and Columbia Artists Theatricals.
For more information, visit www.drdolittlethemusical.com.