Urban Playboy: Matt Cavenaugh Expected as Jimmy in Millie Tour, Kaarina Is Miss Dorothy; Rehearsals Start June 9

News   Urban Playboy: Matt Cavenaugh Expected as Jimmy in Millie Tour, Kaarina Is Miss Dorothy; Rehearsals Start June 9 The national touring company of Thoroughly Modern Millie starts rehearsals in New York City June 9 toward a July 15 launch, and Matt Cavenaugh of Urban Cowboy is expected to play Jimmy on the tour.

Sources in the theatre community say Cavenaugh will play the devil-may-care flapper-era playboy who sings composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist Dick Scanlan's Gershwinesque "What Do I Need With Love?" and "I Turned the Corner." His Broadway debut was as Bud, the title character in the short-lived Urban Cowboy this spring. His casting in Millie has not been officially announced.

Diana Kaarina, who died on the barricades as Eponine in the final Broadway performance of Les Misérables May 18, will play winsome rich girl, Miss Dorothy, a foil to Millie, played by the previously-confirmed Darcie Roberts (Broadway's Aida, among other shows).

Chicago theatre star Hollis Resnik, whose shelves are weighted with Chicago Jeff Awards, will play evil Mrs. Meers and (in a change from Broadway) double as Miss Flannery, the salty-sweet typing pool leader (played memorably on Broadway by a bewigged Anne L. Nathan). Chicago actor Sean Krill will play Trevor, Tony nominee Pamela Isaacs from The Life is Muzzy, Darren Lee (a respected dancer-actor from Kiss Me, Kate) plays Bun Foo and Andrew Pang is Ching Ho.

The company includes Bradley Benjamin, Renee Monique Brown, Jeremy Davis, Troy Magino, Daniel May, Heather Parcells, Diane Phelan, Mia Price, Paul Schaeffer, Steven Wenslawski, Rachel Lafer, Mark Ledbetter, Joe Langworth, Laura Shoop and Tony Yazbeck.

Millie, based on the movie of the same name, but much altered with new songs and plotting, won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Musical, and snagged acting Tonys for newcomer Sutton Foster and featured actress Harriet Harris (who played the role of Mrs. Meers in Asian dragon lady drag). The libretto is by Scanlan and the late Richard Morris. The show focuses on a Kansas girl who seeks adventure and a rich husband in the Oz-worthy, Jazz-Age New York City of 1922.

 

Tech and dress rehearsals are in Green Bay, WI, July 7- 12, followed by a July 15-20 launch at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City.

The national tour is directed by Michael Mayer (Side Man, A View From the Bride) and recreated by the original creative team (including 2003 Best Choreography winner Rob Ashford and Best Costume Design winner Martin Pakledinaz).

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Among the Millie engagements are the Music Hall in Dallas (July 22-Aug. 3), Belk Theatre in Charlotte, NC (Sept. 23-28), Wharton Center in East Lansing, MI (Oct. 14-19), Aronoff Center in Cincinnati Nov. 18-30), Broward Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Jan. 6-18, 2004), Buell Theatre in Denver (March 2-14, 2004), Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (May 18-July 25, 2004).

The tour is expected to be more scenically spare than at Broadway's Marquis, where the show continues.

The tour cast is designed to bring to the regions what was brought to Broadway — fresh faces in a show that is largely about bubbling youth.

The unusual score of the show includes nine new songs, two film songs and interpolations of period and classical numbers (would you believe a little "Nutcracker" and an Arthur Sullivan patter tune?).

Musical direction is by Michael Rafter, with design by David Gallo (scenic), Donald Holder (lighting) and Jon Weston (sound).

Thoroughly Modern Millie is presented by Michael Leavitt, Fox Theatricals and Hal Luftig, with Stewart F. Lane, James L. Nederlander, Independent Presenters Network, L. Mages/M. Glick, D. Berinstein/J. Manocherian/Dramatic Forces, John York Noble and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Actress-singer Hollis Resnik (soon to sneer as Meers) recently released a CD of show tunes, "Make Someone Happy," on the M.A.M. Records label. The disc includes "All You Need Is a Quarter," "This Is What It Is," "Who's This Stranger," "Lion Taner," "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria," "I'm Tired of Loving You," "Barbara Song," "Can't Help Falling In Love With You," "A Trip to the Library," "Usual Way," "Life of the Party" and "Make Someone Happy."