"You Can't Beat the System": Waters Film Is New Musical as Cry-Baby Starts in La Jolla

News   "You Can't Beat the System": Waters Film Is New Musical as Cry-Baby Starts in La Jolla
The world premiere of the Broadway-bound musical Cry-Baby — starring James Snyder in the title role opposite Tony Award winner Harriet Harris — begins previews at the La Jolla Playhouse Nov. 6.
Harriet Harris in rehearsal for Cry-Baby.
Harriet Harris in rehearsal for Cry-Baby. Photo by Joan Marcus

The California engagement will officially open Nov. 18 for a run at the company's Mandell Weiss Theatre through Dec. 16. A March 2008 bow on Broadway at a theatre to be announced is targeted with an official opening in April.

Mark Brokaw stages and Rob Ashford choreographs the new musical based on the John Waters film about "the baddest boy in town," who falls for a good girl in 1954's Baltimore. Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan  — who penned the libretto for the last Waters-based musical, Hairspray — provide the book for the musical that features songs by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger.

Newcomer James Snyder stars in the title role with Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie, "Desperate Housewives") as Mrs. Vernon-Williams. Also featured are Elizabeth Stanley (Company) as Allison, Carly Jibson (Hairspray) as Pepper, Chester Gregory II (Tarzan) as Dupree and Christopher J. Hanke (In My Life) as Baldwin.

The cast also includes Lacey Kohl (as Wanda), Alli Mauzey (Lenora), Cristen Page (Mona aka "Hatchet-Face") and Richard Poe (Judge Stone).

Rounding out the ensemble are Cameron Adams, Ashley Amber, Nick Blaemire, Michael Buchanan, Eric L. Christian, Colin Cunliffe, Joanna Glushak, Stacey Todd Holt, Michael D. Jablonski, Marty Lawson, Spencer Liff, Courtney Laine Mazza, Mayumi Miguel, Tory Ross, Eric Sciotto, Peter Matthew Smith, Allison Spratt and Charlie Sutton. The song list for the new musical includes "The Anti-Polio Picnic," "Watch Your Ass," "One Tear," "I'm Infected," "Squeaky Clean," "Let's Disappear," "Jukebox Jamboree," "Screw Loose," "Class Dismissed," "Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby (Baby Baby)," "Can I Kiss You...?," "I'm Infected (Reprise)," "You Can't Beat the System," "Misery, Agony, Helplessness, Hopelessness, Heartache and Woe," "All in My Head," "Jailyard Jubilee," "A Little Upset," "I Did Something Wrong...Once," "Thanks for the Nifty Country!," "This Amazing Offer," "Do That Again" and "Nothing Bad's Ever Gonna Happen Again."

Joining Brokaw and Ashford on the creative team are Lynne Shankel (music direction, incidental music and additional arrangements), Christopher Jahnke (orchestrations) and David Chase (dance arranger). The design team includes Scott Pask (scenic), Catherine Zuber (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting), Peter Hylenski (sound), Tom Watson (hair and wig) and Randy Houston Mercer (makeup). Rick Sordelet serves as fight director.

Snyder appeared in a reading of Rock of Ages and has been seen onstage in the Los Angeles runs of The Fantasticks and Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes. Following a stint on the VH1 reality series "In Search of the Partridge Family," he appeared in the films "Pretty Persuasion" and "She's the Man."

Cry-Baby was previously scheduled to premiere in February 2007 at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre but was delayed because no Broadway house was available for a transfer. Because the Seattle company could not fit the show into their current season, La Jolla then nabbed the musical's debut.

In the 1990 Waters film, Johnny Depp played the lead role of Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker with Amy Locane as Allison Vernon-Williams, Polly Bergen as Mrs. Vernon-Williams, Iggy Pop as Uncle Belvedere Rickettes, Ricki Lake as Pepper Walker, Traci Lords as Wanda Woodward and Kim McGuire as Hatchet-Face.

Tickets for Cry-Baby at La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive (on the corner Torrey Pines Road) in La Jolla, CA, are on sale by calling (858) 550-1010. For more information on the company visit lajollaplayhouse.org.

The cast of La Jolla's pre-Broadway production of <i>Cry-Baby</i>
The cast of La Jolla's pre-Broadway production of Cry-Baby Photo by Joan Marcus
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