Tommy Tune Will Star in Houston Grand Opera's Show Boat; Principal Casting Announced

By Adam Hetrick
September 24, 2012

Nine-time Tony Award-winning director, choreographer and actor Tommy Tune will make a starry homecoming in the Houston Grand Opera production of the sweeping American musical Show Boat in January 2013.



Tune (Nine, Grand Hotel), a native of Houston, TX, will take on the role of Cap'n Andy, the owner of the musical's floating locale, The Cotton Blossom. Acclaimed opera director Francesca Zambello, who is also co-director of the upcoming Broadway musical Rebecca, will stage the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical that will run Jan. 18-Feb. 9, 2013.

Zambello most recently staged this production of Show Boat for the Lyric Opera of Chicago last winter. The original creative team will reunite for the Houston engagement.

The principal cast also features Sasha Cooke as Magnolia Hawks, Joseph Kaiser as Gaylord Ravenal, Melody Moore as Julie La Verne, Morris Robinson as Joe, Marietta Simpson as Queenie, Cheryl Parrish as Parthy Ann Hawks and Houston philanthropist Lynn Wyatt in a cameo role as the Lady on the Levee.

"I have long admired the work of Tommy Tune as performer, director and living theatrical legend, so to have the chance to collaborate at HGO on Show Boat will be felicitous," director Zambello said in a statement. "Cap'n Andy is the great showman of his floating theater and I am sure Tommy Tune will bring something unique and fresh to our production. It should not be missed."

Show Boat will have set design by Peter Davison, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Mark McCullough and choreography by Michele Lynch.

Show Boat premiered in 1927. Covering more than 30 years in the lives of the people connected to the Mississippi River floating playhouse known as "Cotton Blossom," Show Boat is based on the novel by Edna Ferber. It introduced serious themes (racism, miscegenation, romantic delusion, addiction and more) in a time when most musicals were frivolous entertainments.

The show's musical numbers include "Make Believe," "Old Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine," "You Are Love" and more.

Visit houstongrandopera.org.