Instead of opening their season playing "Le Jazz Hot," Houston's Theatre Under the Stars will be Makin' Whoopee, Oct. 31 - Nov. 16.
Julie Andrews, originally scheduled to start previews in Victor/Victoria Aug. 26 at Houston's Theatre Under The Stars, will now don her tuxedo and begin previews Oct. 14 in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre and Nov. 25 in Houston. V/V is being billed as an add-on to the regular TUTS season.
A production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 11), "Julie had throat surgery and hasn't healed as quickly as she thought," forcing the second postponement of a production originally scheduled for May, 1997. The spokesperson was reluctant to release names of other cast members. Andrews' health problems, which caused her to miss many performances during the original 1995-1997 Broadway run, are at the center of a lawsuit brought by the Broadway producers against an insurance company. V/V is set to run through Dec. 21 at TUTS.
Makin' Whoopee is a new take on the 1928 Broadway musical Whoopee, which was produced by the legendary Florenz Ziegfeld and starred Eddie Cantor. In addition to songs like "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" and "Makin' Whoopee," the 1997 production will feature additional Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson songs like "I'll See You in My Dreams" and "My Baby Just Cares For Me." New characters have also been added to the story set in and around an Arizona dude ranch. Charles Repole, who has twice played the Cantor role, will direct the production, which TUTS says is Broadway bound.
"Love Boat's" Gavin MacLeod and Tony Award-winner Liliane Montevecchi (Nine, Grand Hotel) will "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" when they star in the musical Gigi, Jan. 16 - Feb. 1. Gigi, originally a French novel written by Colette, was adapted as a French film, an English stage play and a movie musical, finally becoming a Broadway musical in 1973. Lerner and Loewe wrote songs such as "The Night They Invented Champagne" and "I Remember It Well" for the romantic musical about a precocious teenager in turn-of-the century Paris. This production was originally produced last season by the Paper Mill Playhouse. Hot Shoe Shuffle, "a new American musical," is the story of seven tap-dancing brothers from Australia seeking fame, fortune and their American roots on Broadway. Directed and choreographed by David Atkins, the score is composed by Megan Cavallari with book and lyrics by David Goldsmith. Tap Dogs creator Dein Perry is co-choreographer. Audiences can shuffle along, March 6-22. The musical is a collaboration with Seattle's 5th Avenue Musical Theatre and St. Paul's Ordway Music Theatre.
Lionel Bart's Oliver!, based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, will pick pockets at TUTS April 17 - May 3. Winner of the 1963 Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist (Bart), Oliver! features songs like "Consider Yourself," "Where Is Love?" and "As long As He Needs Me," bringing the story of an optimistic orphan and the pickpockets who befriend him to musical life.
The season concludes May 15 - 31 with the world premiere of Zorro: The Musical, adapted by Jim Bernhard from the Johnston McCulley magazine serial, The Curse of Capistrano. Also said to be Broadway bound, Zorro is built around themes from the music of Beethoven, Bizet, Brahms, Debussy, Falla, Grieg, Lehar, Offenbach, Puccini, Rimsky Korsakov, Saint-Saens, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.
This season is the final one for TUTS at the Music Hall, which will be demolished at the end of the season to make way for TUTS' new home, the $75 million Hobby Performing Arts Center, scheduled to open in the year 2000.
Subscriptions to the TUTS season, along with priority seating for Victor/Victoria, are available at the TUTS box office (4235 San Felipe) or by calling (713) 622-TUTS. Single tickets for V/V are on sale at 1-800-766-6048, at the TUTS satellite box office (2600 Southwest Freeway at Kirby Drive) and at local Admission Network outlets. For outlet locations, call 1-888 FIND-TIX.
-- By Laura MacDonald