A week before Johnson-Liff Casting was to hold an Equity casting call for the new musical, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, the producers have chosen to postpone the production for a year in the hopes that New York will have a more hospitable economic climate than it does in these post Sept. 11 days.
Production spokesperson Adrian Bryan-Brown told Playbill On-Line Sept. 26, "It was still in the planning stages, but the producers, Brian Brolly and Michael Jenkins of Dallas Summer Musicals, had planned to go to Dallas next spring and then to Broadway. But things were very fluid, and getting the funding for this kind of production in this climate is ridiculous. So they're putting it off for a year." As such, the show now plans to arrive in Dallas in spring 2003, with a Broadway launch after that.
Back in August 2000, PBOL reported that a musical adaptation of the 1953 fantasy film, "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T," was in the works, with Simon Callow directing and Quinny Sacks, a West End and international ballet veteran, choreographing. A look at the recent (and cancelled) Johnson-Liff Casting notice shows that some of the creative team have changed. Ian Judge is now slated to direct, with a choreographer yet to be announced.
Reached June 25, general manager Frank Scardino had told Playbill On-Line the project was moving forward with an eye toward getting the piece on its feet by spring 2002. Composer-lyricist Glen Roven, an Emmy Award with a long career as a musical director and conductor as well as composer for theatre, film and television, including five major Walt Disney programs, has penned the music and lyrics, with Anthony Horowitz writing the book, based on a screenplay by Theodore Geisel (ala "Dr. Seuss").
Asked about the Seuss synergy, general manager Scardino told Playbill On- Line Aug. 16, 2000, that Dr. T "is a different kind of show from Seussical. Seussical takes bits and pieces from the source material, whereas Dr. T is very much based on the motion picture written by Theodore Geisel, and it has more human characters than other Seuss stories."
5,000 Fingers of Dr. T tells of a young boy who grudgingly takes piano lessons from Dr. Terwilliker. The youth fantasizes that the evil Dr. T "enlists 500 children to play the concerto he's written on the world's biggest piano," said Scardino. "Dr. T enrolls them in a huge music institute, and the boy [Bart] tries to defeat his evil plan." In a subplot, "the boy's mom is single parent, and Dr. T. tries to romance his mother [Mrs. Collins]. But it's the friendly plumber from next door who's the hero who ends up with the mother and the boy."
Asked whether a musical involving all those children and an enormous piano might be unwieldy to produce, GM Scardino said, "The plan is to have children playing children, and there will be several children in the cast. We haven't capitalized yet, but we're expecting it to be in the usual range for a Broadway musical these days, $7-$10 million. It's not a mega- musical but not small either." The book and score are finished.
According to BroadwayOnline.com, songs in the show include "I Hate Music," "Happy Little Fingers," "No Balls Here," "You Deserve a Prince," Don't Mind If I Do," "Pickle Juice," "Small," "Crazy Music," "Lucky Me" and "If You Want to Rule the World."
- By David Lefkowitz