"Call Me": Desperately Seeking Susan, Rockin' to Deborah Harry Songs, to Open in London

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10 Jul 2007

A new musical based on the film
A new musical based on the film "Desperately Seeking Susan" starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna will open in London.
Photo by MGM
Desperately Seeking Susan, a new musical drawing from the 1985 film comedy of the same name and using song hits by pop icon Deborah Harry, of Blondie, will make its world premiere on London's West End this fall.

Emma Williams and Kelly Price will star in roles respectively created by Madonna (as Susan, a dangerous free-spirit) and Rosanna Arquette (as Roberta, a suburban housewife).

The musical is written and conceived by American writer, director and actor Peter Michael Marino, and the action will remain set in New Jersey and New York City. Angus Jackson, associate director of Chichester Festival Theatre, will stage the production, which will also include the premiere of a new song by Deborah Harry, whose blonde power rock stardom preceded that of Madonna and Gwen Stefani.

The show will be produced in London by Susan Gallin, Ron Kastner, Mark Rubinstein and Old Vic Productions.

Performances will begin at the Novello Theatre (currently home to The Drowsy Chaperone) Oct. 12 toward a press night of Nov. 15.



According to producers, "The show will feature the classic catalogue of Blondie tracks brilliantly woven into the much-loved fish-out-of-water story. Including hits such as 'Heart of Glass,' 'Atomic,' 'One Way or Another,' 'Dreaming' and 'The Tide is High,' [the show] will also introduce 'Moment of Truth,' a new song written by Deborah Harry especially for this production."

The plot? "Roberta Glass, a suburban New Jersey housewife, escapes her humdrum life by reading the personal ads placed by Susan, a street-smart New York City drifter, and her freewheeling boyfriend Jay. Through a quirky twist of fate, Roberta and Susan unexpectedly swap lives and are plunged into a madcap world of jewel heists, magic shows and rock 'n' roll. The collision of their identities takes them on a wild ride of transformation and discovery until they realize that just when you think you know when your life is headed, something magical happens and turns it all around..."

American Andy Blankenbuehler, whose work includes the Broadway-bound In the Heights, for which he won the Lortel, Outer Critics and the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Choreography, will choreograph.

The creative team will include Tim Hatley (sets and costumes), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), Bobby Aitken and Brian Beasley (sound) and Martin Koch (orchestrations).

Williams' most recent theatre credits include Johanna in Sweeney Todd at the Royal Festival Hall, Fran Kubelik in Promises, Promises at the Sheffield Crucible and Truly Scrumptious in the original production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

Price starred in the title role of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Watermill Theatre and as Sarah Brown in Michael Grandage's production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre and has also appeared in Mamma Mia!

Librettist Marino's other writing projects include Hollywood Nurses, an homage to lesbian pulp novels of the 1950s, which played Off-Broadway and is currently in development with The Drama Department in NYC for a 2008 opening. He wrote, produced and performed the title role in the critically acclaimed cabaret spoof Lance Jonathan: All About Me!, and its sequel More About Me!, which were MAC Award-nominated.

A major pop-rock diva, Deborah Harry became an icon of the new wave scene, and fused pop, disco and pop with Blondie partner Chris Stein ("Heart of Glass," "Call Me") and combined hip-hop and pop on "Rapture."

Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards co-produced her first release as a solo artist, "Koo Koo" in 1981.

Deborah Harry releases her new solo album "Necessary Evil " in September. It's her first solo album in 14 and it "harks back to the Lower East Side groove that propelled Blondie to enduring global success."

Additional cast and information will be announced.