Mitchell will play the Michael Caine role and Butz the Steve Martin role in the show based on the film of the same name. Christine Ebersole and Sheri Rene Scott will play their prey. Denis O'Hare, the Tony Award winner for Take Me Out, plays Mitchell's sidekick, a local police chief.
The December reading is a private first-look for the producers and creative team. Playbill On-Line has learned the designers for the eventual production will be David Rockwell (set), Kenneth Posner (lighting) and Gregg Barnes (costumes).
David Yazbek, the pop-rock writer who was a Tony Award-nominated fresh voice in musical theatre for writing songs for The Full Monty, will pen the score and Hairspray Tony Award-winner Jack O'Brien will direct, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell.
Yazbek, Jerry Mitchell and O'Brien created The Full Monty together (with book writer Terrence McNally). The Full Monty opened the same season as The Producers (2000-01) and was expected to take the Best Musical Tony until Mel Brooks and Co. showed up. The librettist is Jeffrey Lane, whose TV writing credits include "Mad About You," "Bette" and "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd."
The show is expected to take the same path The Full Monty did: start at San Diego's Old Globe and move to Broadway, though that has not been officially announced.
Although work is in the early stages, it's expected to emerge at the Old Globe in September-October 2004 leading to a Broadway bow in 2004-05.
The show is said to be a pure book musical comedy, tapping into Yazbek's knack for comedy songs (memorable in Full Monty was a song about suicide called "Big Ass Rock"). Yazbek's score for Monty won a Drama Desk Award and ran a gamut of styles, including yearning ballads, up-tempo Latin dance and burlesque strip. The composer-lyricist was a Broadway virgin before Monty. As a recording artist, he is heard on several albums (visit www.davidyazbek.com). He has also composed incidental music for plays, films and TV.
Producers David Brown and Marty Bell are partnering to bring the 1988 film comedy to the musical stage. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was directed by Frank Oz and concerned two con men (Martin and Caine) in the French Riviera who try to swindle a woman (played by Glenne Headly). Stage star Dana Ivey also appeared in the film, which was based on the 1964 David Niven-Marlon Brando pic, "Bedtime Story."