Texas native Gatlin stars as the legendary Oklahoma-born humorist and entertainer who never met a man he didn't like. Gatlin made his Broadway debut in the splashy 1991 show with a score by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. He also appeared on tour with the show, which was first directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune. Gatlin is probably best known as a singer and as one of the three Gatlin Brothers, but is also a songwriter, author and actor.
In the musical, which has a book by Peter Stone, Will Rogers narrates his life story through a series of spectacular Ziegfeld Follies-like production numbers "with magnificent sets, dazzling costumes and catchy songs," according to the resident professional company known for its musicals. "He's bringing his wife, father, sisters, his wife's sisters, his kids and a bunch of acrobatic dogs."
Rogers, lariat in hand, did indeed appear in the impresario's Follies in the early 20th century.
Bass Performance Hall is the second stop on the new national tour of The Will Rogers Follies. The tour opened in Austin.
The new production's director-choreographer is Steve Minning, a protégé to Tony Award winner Tommy Tune. The set design is by Tony Walton from the original touring design, with costumes by Willa Kim, lighting design by Mike Baldassari and sound design by Craig Cassidy.
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