Following the arduous, six-year journey of Martin Guerre to the London stage, the next Cameron Mackintosh musical reached audiences in comparatively speedy time. The Fix, a musical by two American writers, Dana P. Rowe and John Dempsey, premiered at London's Donmar Warehouse May 12 and ran to June 14, 1997.
Washington DC/Virginia theatregoers will get to see The Fix, beginning Mar. 17 and opening Mar. 30 for a run through Apr. 26. Signature Theatre, in association with Mackintosh, presents the U.S. premiered of the work.
Described as "a tale of one man's meteoric rise and fall set against the backdrop of modern American politics", the show was directed in London by Sam Mendes, artistic director of the non-profit Donmar. In DC, Signature artistic director Eric D. Schaeffer (Wings, Assassins) will stage the musical. Schaeffer says it's "rock, Sondheim and Kander & Ebb all rolled into one." Song titles include "One Two-Three" (a rock tune) and "I See The Future" (Broadway-style ballad), "Two Guys At Harvard" (vaudevillian) and "Lonely Is A Two-Way Street" (torch song).
John Barrowman, Kathryn Evans and Philip Quast starred in the London Fix but will not appear in the Signature staging. Starring in DC is Linda Balgord, who played Norma Desmond in the first national tour of Sunset Boulevard. Sal Mistretta (Evita), Jim Walton (Sweeney Todd) and Stephen Bienskie (Off-B'way's The Last Session) also star, alongside Linda Dorsey, Anthony Galde, Steven Cupo, Donna Migliaccio, Lawrence Redmond, Mark Aldrich, Michael J. Bobbit, Suzanne Briar, Daniel Felton, Raquel Hecker, Amy McWilliams, Mary Jane Raleigh, David Tapper, Rod Thomas and Joel Carron.
Designing the show are Lou Stancari (set), Daniel MacLean Wagner (lighting), Anne Kennedy (costumes) and David Maddox (sound). Michael Gibson provides the new orchestrations, with Charles Augins providing additional choreography. *
London director Mendes, in a prepared statement, described The Fix as "a black cartoon set in a parallel 20th century, about the journey of an American politician created by those who back him."
Signature artistic director Schaeffer said the DC Fix would differ from the London Fix in physical design, orchestration, Augins' choreography (with an "edge"), and the addition of songs.
Until recently, the musical bore the intriguing title, Cal: A Musical Tale of Relative Insanity. The aborted title isn't all that unusual coming from the team who wrote the 50's sci-fi musical spoof Zombie Prom book by Rowe, book and lyrics by Dempsey) which had a month long run Off-Broadway. Rowe and Dempsey also collaborated on a children's operetta, The Reluctant Dragon, and have another musical, Julian Keyes, in development.
The show's logo in London featured the a seated Abraham Lincoln (a la the Lincoln Memorial), smoking a pipe and winking.
Said Schaeffer, "John and Dana have a unique musical theatre voice...and there's no better city for a new musical based on the corruption of politics than our capital city. It's a perfect `Signature' show."
The 1997 London cast CD of The Fix was released, Mar. 10, on Relativity/First Night Records. John Barrowman and Olivier-winning Philip Quast appear on the disk.
For tickets to The Fix, call (800) 955-5566.
Not to be confused with off-Broadway's Signature Theatre, which dedicates each season to the works of one playwright only, Arlington, VA's Signature Theatre encouraged subscribers to "Take the Ride!" with them this season -- promising, in all caps, "The Most Thrilling Season to Hit Our Stage. Ever."
"The ride" has consisted such works as an updated version of Working by Stephen Schwartz, and a Tug Yourgrau world premiere, Shooting In Madrid -- a coup for the successful 136-seat black box theatre, which seems to double its subscribers annually.
"This year we're shooting for 3,600 subscribers," said Signature spokesperson Paul Gamble when the season began. "We haven't even finished our season brochure and we're already half sold out. We're having a great time." The season will conclude with Stephen Sondheim's award winning, A Little Night Music, running May 19-June 29.
To accommodate larger audiences, the Signature, devoted to contemporary plays, musicals and the development of new works, added Tuesday performances to its runs this past season.
VA's Signature has had an impressive production list over its seven seasons, including the Washington D.C. Area premiere of Sondheim's Passion.
For tickets or more information on Signature shows, call (703) 820-9771.