This test run may blossom into future dates, if response to the divorce-court musical comedy is solid. Composer Coleman, who knows his way around a show tune with such hits as Sweet Charity, City of Angels and Little Me, partners with librettist-lyricist A.E. Hotchner for this courtroom-set musical comedy in which four couples — including legal counsel, jurors, judge and witness — argue, sing, dance and eventually get romantic. Coleman and Hotchner share lyric credit here. The show was previously seen at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre and at the York Theatre Company under the title Exactly Like You, and was, at one point, to be called Court TV, the Musical.
(Coleman and Hotchner's short-lived Welcome to the Club on Broadway in 1989 was also about love on the legal rocks; it focused on alimony jail and got an actress named Sally Mayes noticed in a big way.)
Michael McGrath, featured in the earlier stagings of Exactly Like You, headlines Lawyers, Lovers & Lunatics in New Jersey and Florida, playing the defense attorney whose ex is the prosecutor in a case about a man who is accused of locking up his mother-in-law.
The show has gone through tweaks and revisions over the years. Patricia Birch (Pacific Overtures, Parade) remains connected as the director-choreographer. Jon and Jean Cutler produce, and Arnold Engelman of Westbeth Entertainment executive produces the one-set production, in which the band is part of the company (they play jurors; Fred Barton musical directs and plays the judge, with keyboard on the bench). Associate producers are Mark Leone and Michael Craig.
The cast includes Todd A. Horman, Cristin Mortenson (Bailiffs), Thomas Cannizzaro (TV Commentator), Fred Barton (Judge Maximillian Meltzer), J. Brandon Savage (Kevin Bursteter), Susan Mansur (Priscilla Vanderhosen), Becky Gulsvig (Eve Bursteter), Barbara Walsh (Arlene Murphy), Michael McGrath (Martin Murphy), Stacia Fernandez (Winona Shook), Stuart Ambrose (Aaron Bates), Donya Lane (Stenographer), Irio O'Farrill (Santiago) and Donna Kelly (Juror).
Performances play the Forum Theatre in Metuchen, NJ, Feb. 12-March 2, the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 11-23 and the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, FL, March 25-April 6.
Exec producer Engelman said he and Cutler hope to engage the interest of booking agents for an expanded tour. The combination of a screwball-comedy-style story with 21 Cy Coleman songs opens the show to a wide audience, he said.
"It's a spoof when you really get down to it," Engelman told Playbill On-Line. "It's a screwball comedy, basically, sort of like those 1950s movies where the reality is stretched."
In the world of the show, an ad exec on the jury falls for the country singer on the jury, a mother-in-law falls for the judge, separated plaintiff and defendant reunite and the lawyers make up — and palm trees pop out of the courtroom set in one of the fantasy sequences.
Designers for the tour are James Morgan (set), Kirk Bookman (lighting), Peter Fitzgerald (sound) and Richard Schurkamp (costumes).
Songs in the show include "A Man of the People," "Southern Comfort," "Why Did You Have to Be a Lawyer?," "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee," "I Get Tired," "That's a Woman," "Cottage by the Sea," "In the Name of Love," "I Forgive Him," "Good Day, Good Day," "She Makes Me Laugh," "Rio," "At My Side," "No Further Questions, Please," "You're Good for Me," "Guilty," "Ain't He Cute," "Don't Let It Getcha," "Pound of Flesh," " It Wouldn't Be You."
Orchestrations and Arrangements by Cy Coleman and Doug Katsaros. Associate director and choreographer Jonathan Cerullo.
For ticket information to the Forum Theatre engagement in Metuchen, call (732) 548-0582. For information about the March 11-23 run at the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, call (954) 523-3309. For information about the Royal Poinciana Playhouse run in Palm Beach, FL, March 25-April 6 call (561) 966-3309.