Is a U.S. Run of Witches of Eastwick Brewing?

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13 Mar 2003

The Witches of Eastwick, the musical comedy seen in London in a Cameron Mackintosh production, is getting a private industry reading in Manhattan March 13, under the direction of Gabriel Barre.

Emily Skinner is one of the modern-day witches in the musical comedy that played London in two different versions. Alix Korey is also in the New York reading cast.

There have been hopes over the years that the show, inspired by the John Updike novel and movie of the same name, might make it to New York. The exploration of that possibility apparently continues with this new reading.

The Witches of Eastwick has book and lyrics by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe, whose musical, The Fix, premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 1997.

The show closed at London's Prince of Wales Oct. 27, 2001. The show first opened at the Theatre Drury Lane on July 18, 2000, to much ballyhoo and mixed reviews. It was then revamped before opening a second time at the Prince of Wales on July 17, 2001. The transfer was designed to create a more intimate feel to the show, which also received new tunes, and some cast changes. A predicted transfer to Broadway didn't materialize. Witches played a three-month run at Melbourne's Princess Theatre in 2002.



In 2001, there was talk of the U.S. national tour for the show, licensed by Mackintosh to Clear Channel, possibly with actor Clarke Peters starring.

The London revamp of the show featured Peters as Darryl van Horne, Josefina Gabrielle as Alexandra, Rebecca Thornhill as Sukie and Joanna Riding as Jane.

The original 2000 London cast starred Ian McShane as van Horne, Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman and Riding. Michael Crawford was originally announced to star as van Horne, but dropped out.

In London, the show was directed by award-winning Eric Schaeffer, the Washington, DC, director known for his resident company, Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, and for Broadway's Putting It Together. The West End staging was designed by Bob Crowley and choreographed by Bob Avian.

Gabriel Barre's plate is full in 2003. He's staging the new Tammy Wynette musical, Stand By Your Man and the new Frank Wildhorn-Nan Knighton musical, Camille Claudel, both for Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre.

His credits include Barre staged The Wild Party at the Manhattan Theatre Club. His Goodspeed credits include the revival of King of Hearts, Sweeney Todd and Finian's Rainbow and a number of new shows both at the flagship Goodspeed Opera House and at the Terris, including Summer of ’42, Houdini, Dorian, Fanny Hill and Honky-Tonk Highway.