Dr. Dolittle Tour Snags a Peter Pan Veteran to Choreograph

News   Dr. Dolittle Tour Snags a Peter Pan Veteran to Choreograph
Patti Colombo, who created potent and percussive choreography for the Cathy Rigby Peter Pan in recent years, will choreograph the new Tommy Tune-directed Dr. Dolittle, a spokesman for the national tour confirmed.

Tune will star in the production, which bows in Houston Jan. 17, 2006. Tune and Colombo are resuscitating the tour that stalled in October after only nine weeks of performances. A new cast will be announced shortly.

Michael Biagi is the production's new musical director. Donna Granata will design Tune's costumes. He plays the famed veterinarian who talks to animals in the musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.

The creative team is held over from the earlier U.S. tour: costumes are by Ann Hould-Ward (Beauty and the Beast), set design is by Kenneth Foy, lighting is by Ken Billington (Chicago) and puppet design is Michael Curry (The Lion King).

Some work on the script will be done. Book revisions are being credited to Lee Tannen, who was not in the credits of the earlier staging.

Rehearsals begin Dec. 12 in Manhattan. The early 2006 engagements of the tour are Houston's Hobby Center Jan. 17-29; Denver's Buell Theatre Jan. 31-Feb. 12, Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre Feb. 21-March 5, San Diego's Civic Theatre March 7-12, Tucson's Civic March 14-19, Costa Mesa's Orange County Performing Arts Center March 21-April 2, with additional cities to be announced.

Patti Colombo choreographed Goodspeed Musicals' 2005 staging of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is expected to tour. She received an Emmy and American Choreographers Award Nomination for her choreography of Peter Pan, which aired on A&E. She also choreographed the Broadway production of Peter Pan (Tony nominated as Best Revival). The show is currently playing The Theater at Madison Square Garden to Dec. 30.

Colombo also choreographed Inaugural Galas for both President Bush and President Clinton at the Kennedy Center; Radio Gals at the Pasadena Playhouse (for which she received the OVATION award as Los Angeles' Best Choreographer) and the national tour of Seussical. Other theatre credits and Drama Logue Awards include the West Coast premiere of Drood plus On The Town; West Side Story; Damn Yankees; Where's Charley?; The Most Happy Fella; and The Pajama Game (Reprise!). She directed and choreographed Ann- Margret's new tour, Here & Now.


The plan to bring Tune in to reconceive the tour, which was shut down in early October after nine weeks of soft business, had been talked about in theatre circles since the shuttering of the production. Tune was sighted in theatres in the tour's final stops.

The production, freshly reconceived by the 6-foot-6-1/2-inch Tune, begins anew Jan. 17, 2006 at the Hobby Center in Houston. Tune is a native Texan.

The show is inspired by screenwriter-songwriter Leslie Bricusse's 1967 Oscar-winning movie of the same name, and the "Doctor Dolittle" stories by Hugh Lofting.

"What a privilege to be working with the talented Tommy Tune," said producer Van Kaplan, of Pittsburgh CLO, in a statement. "His unique performance style and flair are bound to delight theatregoers across the country. Audiences are in for a treat."

The multi-talented performer, choreographer and director helped create Grand Hotel, The Will Rogers Follies, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the original production of Nine.

It's not clear if Tune will be playing a Brit or if his Dolittle will be reconceived as an American. Production sources previously told Playbill.com that Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies) has been wooed to play Dolittle's love interest.

The re-do of the production comes too late for some presenters, who promised the family-friendly show for late 2005 dates. Seattle 5th Avenue Theatre, for example, had to come up with a last minute replacement and is programmed The Sound of Music for the holiday slot Dolittle was to fill.

Dr. Dolittle features book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse (Stop the World, I Want to Get Off; The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd; "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"). Bricusse won an Academy Award for the song "Talk to the Animals," first sung on film by Rex Harrison. The score includes "When I Look in Your Eyes," "I've Never Seen Anything Like It" and "After Today."

Dr. Dolittle is produced by Pittsburgh CLO, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Independent Presenters Network and Columbia Artists Theatricals.

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