A musical version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? seemed like a somewhat improbable subject for a stage show and, for the moment, it will remain only a strange and future cult-inspiring idea. Texas' Theatre Under the Stars, who was to premiere the Lee Pockriss-Hal Hackady musical, has canceled the production because of "design problems," according to a released statement.
Already into rehearsals, the creative team decided the entire look of the production was wrong and needed to be redone. Designing the Broadway bound musical are Richard Winkler (lighting), Michael Anania (sets) and Eduardo Sicangco (costumes). London's David Taylor will direct with choreography by Dan Siretta (Whoopee!, Oh, Kay!).
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? remains on the schedule for TUTS' 2001-02 season, but July 10-22, Fanny Brice will take her place. Funny Girl will be directed by Bruce Lumpkin.
Tickets are $19-$76. For reservations, call (800) 678-5440. Theatre Under the Stars is on the web at http://www.tuts.com.
* In Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, a twisted psychological profile of show business gone mad, former child vaudevillian Baby Jane Hudson becomes caretaker for her movie star sister Blanche when the latter has a mysterious crippling accident. Encased in hideous pancake make-up and in a precarious mental condition, Jane torments and tortures her sister, while Blanche tries desperately to escape. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is based on the Henry Farrell novel, which inspired the 1962 Bette Davis-Joan Crawford film.
Pockriss composed such hits as "Catch a Falling Star," "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" and "Johnny Angel." Hackady provided lyrics for Little By Little, Goodtime Charley and Snoopy! all with composer Larry Grossman. Farrell who wrote the book "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" will write the musical's book.
-- By Christine Ehren