By Kenneth Jones
and Christine Ehren
16 Aug 2002
The 2003 Florida staging of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is indeed aiming for Broadway, producer Rodger Hess told Playbill On-Line Aug. 16.
"Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan will fox trot, tango and waltz her way across the Coconut Grove Playhouse stage in Miami, March 18-April 13, 2003, and Hess said he and his producing partners are looking at a Broadway bow of early fall 2003 for the Richard Alfieri play directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman.
Theatrical legend Uta Hagen was to have starred in Six Dance Lessons in New York as she did in Los Angeles (with co-star David Hyde Pierce, of TV's "Frasier"), but her medical situation, complicated by what has been reported as a stroke, prevented Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks from arriving on Broadway in spring 2002 as planned (an April opening at the Booth had been announced). The scuttling of the 2002 bow was announced in January.
Hess said due to Hagen's unsure health McClanahan is now the Broadway baby of the two-hander, about a heartbroken dance teacher named Michael Minetti (yet to be cast) and a feisty Baptist minister's wife Lily Harrison (McClanahan). During the course of the play, Michael teaches Lily the ballroom dance steps to the strains of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," "Blue Tango," Eydie Gormé and the Beach Boys, while they both learn a few lessons about friendship and life.
David Hyde Pierce created the role of Michael opposite Hagen in the extended hit run of the play at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in May and summer 2001. Hess said the part had not yet been cast.
Hess, Marcia Seligson & Entpro Inc., along with Barry and Fran Weissler, are the producers of record for the staging.
Hess said the same design team from the Geffen would continue for the Florida and Broadway production. They are Roy Christopher (set), Helen Butler (costume), Tom Ruzika (lighting) and Philip G. Allen (sound).
McClanahan most recently appeared on Broadway as Countess de Lage in The Women. She is best known as the sassy Southerner Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls," for which she received an Emmy Award.