Kerry Butler and Michael Rupert Added to Cast of Kotis-Hollmann Musical White Suit

By Robert Simonson
June 14, 2005

Kerry Butler—recently, everyone's first choice for musical theatre female leads—will play opposite Hunter Foster in Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann's new musical The Man in the White Suit.

As previously reported by Playbill.com, a workshop production of The Man in the White Suit will be one of the highlights of the 2005 summer season of New York Stage and Film. David Petrarca directs.

Hunter Foster, who played Bobby Strong in Kotis and Hollmann's hit musical Urinetown, will play the lead role of Sidney Stratton in the duo's latest effort. Butler will play the sly daughter of a major textile industrialist, played by Michael Rupert, who unknowlingly assists Stratton in his creation of a fabric that never needs to be cleaned—an invention that sparks a crisis in the British textile industry.

Foster and Butler were paired in the recent Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors. More recently, she played the lead in the San Francisco debut of the new musical The Opposite of Sex.

The production will run June 24-26 in the Martel Theater. The show is based on a 1951 Ealing Studios comedy starring Alec Guinness.

This will be Kotis and Hollmann's first full musical effort since the duo won Tony Awards for Urinetown.

In other New York Stage and Film casting news, Jenny Powers, Megan McGinnnis, Wayne Wilcox, John Patrick Walker and Emily Skinner will star in the musical Dangerous Beauty, which has music by Michele Brourman, book by Jeannine Dominy and lyrics by Amanda McBroom, and is directed by Sheryl Kaller.

Both Powers and McGinnis starred in the recent Broadway musical Little Women. Skinner's credits include The Full Monty and Dinner at Eight.

Also scheduled for the season at Vassar College is Behind The Limelight, with music, book and lyrics by Christopher Curtis, directed by Michael Unger. Limelight promises that "the wounded youth, the idealist, the cad and the genius all come together in this musical exploration of one of film's great enigmas and greatest legends, Charlie Chaplin." It runs July 21-24 at the Martel. Luther Creek plays Chaplin.

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As previously reported, the latest work by recent Pulitzer Prize-winner John Patrick Shanley, titled Chain of Command, will be given a one-night-only, free-of-charge staging July 16 at the Powerhouse Theatre.

Shanley is currently at the apex of his decades-long playwriting career. His work Doubt is the hit of the season, playing to crowds on Broadway. He has won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and this year's Tony Award for Best Play.

The new drama is about "two officers who clash over an explosive incident." Shanley, who has directed his own work on occasion, will stage the piece. No cast has been selected. Doug Hughes directed the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Doubt.

Another late edition to the NYS&F 2005 season is Jeff Whitty's new comedy The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabbler, which will be part of the Powerhouse's Second Reading Festival the weekend of July 22-24. Whitty is the Tony-winning librettist of Avenue Q.

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The play lineup will begin with Donna Morelli by Gina Barnett, about "tech-influenced adolescents coping with the most thrilling, scary and physical stage of life in a modern love story inspired by Romeo and Juliet." It runs June 22-25 in the Powerhouse Theater. Next up is Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, telling of "the ghosts of one family’s past [as they] come alive to reveal a history of heartbreak and pain in post Civil War America." Dates are July 6-9. Lastly at the Powerhouse, July 13-16, is Big Wyoming, a new work by David Neipris, directed by Hal Brooks, about "a Romanian philosopher in the twilight of his life [who] relives memories of Paris, his one great love and the painful consequences of his youthful ideas."

Under the category of "Special Presentations" come two short presentations at the Powerhouse: Anna and Mee by Randle Mell, directed by Max Mayer; and Love Child, written by the actors Dan Jenkins and Robert Stanton, and directed by David Warren. In Love Child, Jenkins and Stanton will "portray everyone on stage, backstage and in the house on one disastrous night at the theatre."

NYS&F will also present two reading series. They are as follows:

Reading Festival #1 - June 17, 18 and 19:
Raymond Falls, by Dan Kagan
Sweet Mercy, by Melody Cooper
The New Broom, by Michael Martin Kell
The Busy World Is Hushed, by Keith Bunin
One more reading TBA

Reading Festival #2 – July 22, 23 and 24:
Yes! We Have No Pajamas, by Nicole Burdette, directed by Brian MacDevitt, with Tim Hutton.
The Plains Of Ilion, by Steven Sater, directed by Barry Edelstein
Rapture, by Joanna Murray-Smith
Jayson With a Y, by Darci Picoult
Manic Flight Reaction, by Sarah Schulman, directed by Trip Cullman

The entire season will run from June 17 to July 31.

NYS&F's 2004 season reaped remarkable benefits. Among the presentations—all of which subsequently traveled to New York, or were announced for future New York productions—were Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, The Argument by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Fran's Bed by James Lapine.