Revamped Pal Joey, With New Book by Patrick Pacheco, to Open Rubicon Season | Playbill

News Revamped Pal Joey, With New Book by Patrick Pacheco, to Open Rubicon Season
A fresh production of the Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey, with a new book by theatre journalist Patrick Pacheco that re-casts the role of Joey as an African American, will debut at the Rubicon Theatre this fall.

Tony Award-winning producer Peter Schneider (The Lion King, Aida), who is also at work developing a musical of the film "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," will direct Pal Joey, which opens the Rubicon season Oct. 17-Nov. 11 in Ventura, CA.

The newly conceived production incorporates additional songs from the Rodgers and Hart catalogue, including "The Lady Is A Tramp," "Sing for Your Supper" and "Glad To Be Unhappy." Several songs have been excised from the score, with gems like "Bewitched" and "I Could Write a Book" left intact. It has a score by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart. The original book was by John O'Hara, based on his novel of the same title.

The orchestrations have now been reconfigured for a trio of musicians. Arrangements are by Michael Reno.

The new version of Pal Joey, which is now set in 1948 rather than the late 1930's, received a developmental staging at Michigan's Barn Theatre in summer 2011. The new version creates a dynamic between African American crooner Joey and society dame Vera (played by a white actress), and Joey's girlfriend, Linda, who is African American. Complicating the romance is a white gay pianist who falls for Joey as well.

Here's how Pal Joey is billed: "The first anti-hero to propel a musical, Joey has the voice of an angel, a charismatic personality and a restless, dangerous look. When he lands at low-rent Chicago nightclub in 1948, he intrigues the sexy, sassy chorus girls and the jazz-loving pianist. But watch out. In this highly entertaining re-conceived revival, Joey has a chip on his shoulder to go with all those smooth moves. He has been kept from achieving his dreams by the prejudices of the time. Hungry to headline at his own glittering club, Joey is willing to do whatever—and sleep with whomever–to get there. That includes seducing an older married socialite. But outside of these calculated trysts, Joey finds himself inexplicably drawn to Linda, a young artist who is as grounded as Joey is airborne. When he finally gets what he wants, can Joey keep it? And is it enough? Casting and further creative duties have not been announced.

The Rubicon season will also include a world-premiere concert staging of the Paul Gordon-John Caird musical Little Miss Scrooge (Dec. 12-23); the American premiere of Sabina Berman's eXtras (Jan. 30-Feb. 24, 2013); Thornton Wilder's Our Town (March 6-31, 2013); the return of the folk musical Lonesome Traveler (April 4-May 19, 2013); and Jane Wagner's The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (Sept. 4-29, 2013).


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