Math and science are all the rage in Broadway's Copenhagen and Proof, so why not a musical about Fermat and his famous last theorem?
York Theatre Company presents just that — Fermat's Last Tango — beginning Nov. 21 at its Manhattan home at The Theatre at St. Peter's.
The world premiere tuner is billed as having one great "number" after another (get it?) and has a book and score by husband-and wife team Joanne Sydney Lessner (book and co-lyrics) and Joshua Rosenblum (music and co-lyrics). Official opening is Dec. 6. Performances continue to New Year's Eve.
The production notes ask, "What happens when a competitive, arrogant 17th-century mathematician just won't stay dead?" The show is inspired by the true story of Andrew Wiles, the Princeton professor who proved "Fermat's Last Theorem" — the 350-year-old problem regarded as the Everest of mathematics. The show is said to "take a whimsical, irreverent" look at the people behind the math.
The notes indicate, "The sneering, foppish Fermat returns from the AfterMath (where dead mathematicians go, of course) to torment the professor in his quest for a proof. Along the way, Pythagoras, Newton, Euclid and Gauss join in the catchy melodies, which range from operetta to blues to the tango of the title." In its development, the show had the title, Proof, and then David Auburn's play of the same name (about a Chicago math professor and his daughter) became a hit Off-Broadway and then on Broadway. The name was changed to include the musical "tango" reference.
The cast, under the direction of Mel Marvin, includes Gilles Chiasson (Scarlet Pimpernel, the original Rent), Edwardyne Cowan, Mitchell Kantor, Jonathan Rabb, Chris Thompson, Christianne Tisdale and Carrie Wilshusen. Milton Granger is musical director, Janet Watson choreographs. Designers are John Michael Deegan (lighting), Lynn Bowling (costumes) and James Morgan (sets).
Tickets are $45-$50. The Theatre at St. Peter's Church is at the Citigroup Center, 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th Street. For information, call (212) 239-6200.
— By Kenneth Jones