Inspired by the film comedy of the same name, but apparently including new characters and elements, the musical comedy's future was sidetracked when director Mike Ockrent, a champion of the show and co-conceiver of the show, took ill. He was to stage a Los Angeles production in summer 2000, with wife Susan Stroman choreographing, but was felled by cancer in December 1999. The show had been announced for the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles for summer 2000.
"The Night They Raided Minsky's," the 1968 William Friedkin-directed film, is about an Amish girl who causes a sensation when she inadvertently invents the striptease at the famous burlesque palace. Jason Robards and Britt Ekland starred.
The stage show has music by Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly's Last Jam) and book by Evan Hunter ("Blackboard Jungle," "The Birds," and crime novels under the name Ed McBain).
The East Haddam, Connecticut-based Goodspeed Opera House was the launchpad for Man of LaMancha, Shenandoah and Strouse's Annie and many other musicals. If Goodspeed gives the show a staging, it would be the world premiere.
"I'm very excited about it," Strouse said of the possibility of Goodspeed. "It's a piece that was ready to go when Mike Ockrent was alive, and he died literally before we put the last period on it. It threw us all into a turmoil. I think it's a wonderful piece, and it has the daffy touch of Mike Ockrent. He was a conceiver of it, he brought me into it. It's really crazy, because he never even saw the movie, which Lee Adams and I had written the score for." Strouse continued, "Ockrent was the most wonderful, humorous, warm-hearted man. Very intelligent. But he had a six-year-old sense of humor, at least to my mind. That's the thing that was absolutely lovable about him. [His imprint] is all over this piece."
A Goodspeed spokesman confirmed that discussions were taking place, and kept mum about further details (a director and casting, for example) because the deal is still in the works.