Conceived and developed by Lynnette Barkley and Christopher McGovern, the musical based on the life of the famed dancer is directed by Tony Award nominee Scott Schwartz (Golda's Balcony, Séance on a Wet Afternoon). Co-creator McGovern penned the book, original songs and arrangements for the musical. Additional songs are by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern.
Backwards in High Heels will play Tucson through Oct. 2, prior to arriving in Phoenix Oct. 7-24. The work is a co-production with the Asolo Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre and The Cleveland Play House.
White (White Christmas, Grease), who starred in the title role of the musical at California's International City Theatre last winter, repeats her performance as the famed blonde dancer. LaBanca (Young Frankenstein, White Christmas) portrays Fred Astaire, as well as other male roles.
The cast also features Heather Lee (2003 Gypsy, Guys and Dolls) as Lela Rogers (a role she also played at ICT), James Patterson, Benjie Randall and Christianne Tisdale.
Designing Backwards in High Heels are Walt Spangler (scenic design), Alejo Vietti (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Abe Jacob (sound designer). Tim Robertson is music director and conductor. According to ATC, Backwards in High Heels "is the story of a small-town girl from Texas who dazzled the whole wide world, playing everything from 'the girl next door' to the modern woman with a mind of her own. It's a spectacular candy box of show-stopping dance numbers, great songs, and some surprising revelations about a movie legend."
Following the ATC run, Backwards in High Heels will play in San Jose from Nov. 24-Dec.19 and Cleveland from Jan. 7-30, 2011.
Tucson performances take place at the Temple of Music and Art (330 S. Scott Avenue); call the box office at (520) 622-2823. Phoenix performances take place at the Herberger Theater Center (222 E. Monroe Street); call the box office at (602) 256-6995.
Visit www.arizonatheatre.org for more information.