Bounce Bounces Out of Chicago; Kennedy Center Is Next Hop

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10 Aug 2003

Michelle Pawk and Howard McGillin perform Bounce.">
Michelle Pawk and Howard McGillin perform "What's Your Rush?" in Bounce.
Photo by Liz Lauren
Bounce, the new musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, and directed by Harold Prince, will conclude its world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Aug. 10 and begin preparation for its fall stop at the Kennedy Center.

The Goodman show opened on June 30. The Kennedy Center will play host to the much-talked-about musical Oct. 21-Nov. 16. A Broadway berth after that is a distinct possibilities. Roger Berlind and Arielle Tepper are the attached commercial producers.

Notices for the brand new work—which is several years in the making—were mixed. Some critics thought the piece needed further definition, while others charges the creators should give the whimsical piece a more serious presentation and the lead characters of Addison and Wilson Mizner a more pointedly symbolic resonance. Good marks were posted for the performers Richard Kind and Michele Pawk and several reviewers found much to admire in the Sondheim score. Observers expect Sondheim, Weidman and Prince to return to the drawing board and present a revised show for Washington audiences.

Bounce is inspired by the lives of the colorful American capitalists-cum-con artists, the Mizner brothers. John Weidman (Sondheim and Prince's collaborator on Pacific Overtures) wrote the libretto of the musical, which has been in earnest development for several years under different producers and in different versions and with different titles.

The Chicago Bounce company of 19 actors, singers and dancers is led by Gavin Creel, Richard Kind, Herndon Lackey, Howard McGillin, Michele Pawk and Jane Powell in the principal roles.



"Bounce launches its characters into a turn of the century American whirlwind, a time of limitless adventure and boundless opportunity for those who have the energy and audacity to seize them," according to Goodman production notes. "Bounce follows the adventures of brothers Addison (played by Richard Kind) and Wilson (played by Howard McGillin) Mizner, taking to heart the advice of their papa, Lansing Mizner (played by Lackey), a man who never missed an opportunity, and Mama Mizner (played by Powell), who bankrolled their first chance to get rich quick. It's the story of American men and women willing to take risks to grab their piece of the dream, of women like Nellie (played by Tony Award-winner Michele Pawk), a Gold Rush dance hall girl who marries well, again and again. It's the story of resilience and invention, of America's ability to 'bounce.'"