By Kenneth Jones
08 Apr 2008
Playbill.com has learned that casting is complete for the Signature's production of the new musical by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) and Terrence McNally (book). Performances will play Signature's Max space May 13-June 22.
Frank Galati directs and Ann Reinking choreographs, as they did for the 2001 world premiere at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Refinements have been made to the script and score since that time.
Based on the play The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (adapted by Maurice Valency), the musical stars two-time Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Chita Rivera (The Rink, West Side Story, Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Claire Zachanassian, who was driven from her hometown in disgrace when she was 17, having been betrayed by her lover. "Several decades and seven husbands later, Zachanassian has become the richest woman in the world, yet her hometown has fallen on hard times," according to the Signature. "When Zachanassian returns with an offer to save the town, salvation comes with an outrageous price tag."
Tony Award winner George Hearn (La Cage aux Folles, Sunset Blvd.) plays her former lover, Anton Schell. Tony nominee Jacoby (Ragtime, Show Boat) plays The Mayor, a role he created in Chicago.
The cast is expected to include Bethe Austin as Annie, the mayor's wife; D.B. Bonds (Make Me a Song, The Phantom of the Opera) as young Anton; Matthew Deming as Louis Perch; Alan H. Green as Benny; Jim Harms as Rudi; Michael Hayward-Jones (Me and My Girl) as The Priest; Howard Kaye (Miss Saigon) as Lenny; Doug Kreeger (Les Miserables) as Evgeny; Mary Ann Lamb (Curtains, Seussical, Fosse) as young Claire; Jerry Lanning (of the original Mame) as The Doctor; Ryan Lowe (Chicago) as Jacob Chicken; Karen Murphy (All Shook Up, 42nd Street) as Matilda, Anton's wife; Brian O'Brien (The Pirate Queen, Annie Get Your Gun) as Kurt; Cristen Paige as Ottilie; Kevin Reed as Karl; Hal Robinson (Cabaret, Nick & Nora) as The Police Chief; Jeremy Webb (The Glorious Ones) as The Schoolmaster, plus Leslie Becker, Robert Mintz, Brianne Moore, Christy Morton and Kimberly Sherbach.
For more information about the Helen Hayes Award-winning Signature Theatre, visit www.signature-theatre.org.
The Visit played Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 2001-02. The creators have hoped for a New York City run, but that has yet to happen. This DC-area staging would seem to be the next step toward a wider life.
Director Galati is a Tony Award nominee for his direction of Ragtime, and a two-time 1990 Tony winner for his direction and script of The Grapes of Wrath.
Reinking, the Broadway actress, dancer, director and choreographer, won a Tony for choreographing the popular revival of Chicago, and was Tony-nommed for her direction of Fosse. She was also a Tony nominee as Best Featured Actress (Musical) and Best Actress (Musical) for Dancin' and Goodtime Charley.