An Officer and a Gentleman, the Musical, Aims for International Life After NYC Reading

News   An Officer and a Gentleman, the Musical, Aims for International Life After NYC Reading
Two weeks of rehearsals went into two May 14 Manhattan presentations of An Officer and a Gentleman, the musical, based on 1982's warmly remembered film romance about Naval officers in the making and on the make.
Christopher J. Hanke
Christopher J. Hanke Photo by Ben Strothmann

Plans are to launch it Down Under at the Melbourne Theatre Company, where Simon Phillips has been the artistic director since 1999, and then bring it to Canada and New York — basically, the same game play as Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical, also directed by Phillips. Priscilla will pitch its tent on Broadway in 2011, after a 12-week run this fall at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre. Eric William Morris, who is currently Sky in Mamma Mia! and recently did the Ars Nova hit Bloodsong of Love, had the Richard Gere role in the reading, opposite Kelli Barrett (of the recent Royal Family on Broadway) in the Debra Winger part. Cry-Baby's Christopher J. Hanke and Hair's Natalie Bradshaw executed the tragic subplot played on film by David Keith and Lisa Blount. The hard-nosed drill instructor played by an Academy Award-winning Louis Gossett Jr. was sung by Colman Domingo, late of Passing Strange and A Boy and His Soul and next of The Scottsboro Boys.

(The New York City reading casting does not necessarily reflect future casting.)

The film's other Oscar was for Best Song: "[Love Lift Us] Up Where We Belong" (music by Jack Nitzeche and Buffy Sainte-Marie; lyrics by Will Jennings). It was included in the new score by Grammy nominees Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner.

"If people wanted to come see the show for that one number," said one who observed the two workshops, "they would be happy that they came."

The libretto is by the film's screenwriter, Douglas Day Stewart, and Sharleen Cooper Cohen.

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