Casting Now Complete for Broadway's New Drood, With Chita Rivera, Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase
By Kenneth Jones
Janine DiVita, Jenifer Foote and Spencer Plachy have joined the troupe of Roundabout Theatre Company's new Broadway production of Rupert Holmes' The Mystery of Edwin Drood, completing the casting for the revival of the Tony Award-winning musical whodunit.
Already revealed for the show were Chita Rivera as Princess Puffer, Tony Award winner Jim Norton (The Seafarer) as Chairman, Stephanie J. Block (Anything Goes) as Drood, Will Chase ("Smash") as John Jasper, Gregg Edelman (City of Angels) as Reverend Mr. Crisparkle, 2012 Tony nominee Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day…) as Helena Landless and Betsy Wolfe (Encores! Merrily We Roll Along) as Rosa Bud, Andy Karl (Legally Blonde the Musical) as Neville Landless, Nicholas Barasch as Deputy, Peter Benson (Wonderful Town, Harvey) as Bazzard, Robert Creighton (Anything Goes) as Durdles, with Alison Cimmet (Baby It's You!), Nick Corley (Woody Sez), Justin Greer (Anything Goes, Seussical), Shannon Lewis (How to Succeed..., The People in the Picture), Kiira Schmidt (Follies, Anything Goes), Eric Sciotto (Pal Joey, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Jim Walton (Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along) and Cody Williams (Memphis).
The English Music Hall-style show based on Charles Dickens final, unfinished novel won 1986 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. Holmes (Curtains, Say Goodnight Gracie, "Remember WENN") wrote the book, music and lyrics. The new staging will begin preview performances on Oct. 19. Opening night is Nov. 29 at Studio 54 at 254 W. 54th Street.
Directed by Scott Ellis (Harvey, Twelve Angry Men), with choreography by Warren Carlyle (Finian's Rainbow) and music direction by Paul Gemignani, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is billed as "the whodunit musical." "Who killed Edwin Drood?" Roundabout asks. "It's a question that has stumped audiences for years — now it's your turn to answer one of Broadway's most baffling mysteries. Take a trip back in time to a Victorian music hall where a rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens' unfinished novel. Everyone on stage is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood — and it's up to you to choose the killer! Is it John Jasper, Edwin's protective but slightly maniacal uncle? Rosa Bud, his reluctant betrothed? The debauched Princess Puffer? Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides!"
The design team includes Anna Louizos (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Brian Nason (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound).
Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, going online at roundabouttheatre.org or at the Studio 54 box office (254 West 54th Street). Ticket prices range from $42-$137.
Norton won a 2007 Olivier Award and a 2008 Tony Award for The Seafarer. In New York, he also appeared on Broadway in Finian's Rainbow (also for Encores!) and The Weir (Olivier nomination); and Off-Broadway's Juno and the Paycock, Dublin Carol (Obie Award); and Port Authority.
Rivera won two Tony Awards (Kiss of the Spider Woman; The Rink) and received seven additional Tony nominations including one for her performance as Liliane La Fleur in Roundabout's Tony Award-winning musical Nine. She created the role of Velma Kelly in the original Broadway production of Chicago opposite Gwen Verdon (1975). Her select Broadway credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Bajour, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. She also starred in the film version of "Sweet Charity."
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