If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then producer Daryl Roth (Three Tall Women, De La Guarda, Wit, The Bomb-itty of Errors) should get ready to be delighted with a lot of attention...for one of her own. On June 7, John Mercurio's new musical, Gentlemen's Bet, will have its pre-Broadway tryout -- a world premiere performance -- at Columbia University's Schapiro [sic] Theatre.
The connection? Well, although Roth is not a producer on the show, one of her staffers, Andrew Kato is. In a move that would seem to mirror producer Roth's recent success with Off-Broadway's Bomb-itty of Errors, which came out of NYU's Tisch School, Kato sought to develop Mercurio's musical with the help of Columbia students majoring in theatre management and producing. The match was all about Kato needing co producers and the Columbia students needing "a show to prove their genius," production sources said.
Set in 1958, at the Dover Academy, Gentlemen's Bet is the story of a school production of Faust which involves a conflict between the school's most powerful students and the seductive nature of power.
John Mercurio was the winner of the 2000 Jonathan Larson Foundation Award. His play will be directed by Adam Hess. It has been developed over the past three years by Kato, according to production notes.
Kato is not the only Roth staffer to graze in the field of production -- her son, Jordan Roth, produced the popular Off-Broadway adaptation, The Donkey Show. Gentlemen's Bet runs at the Schapiro Theatre, located at 605 West 115 Street. Performances run from June 7 through June 10, with a total of four shows planned. For reservations ($12) call SmarTix at (212) 532 8887.
-- By Murdoch McBride