Last November, Douglas Carter Beane, artistic director of Off-Broadway's Drama Dept., directed a one-day reading of Free to Be You and Me, a production based on the cult album of the same name. That occasion apparently went well enough to lead to three more performances, Feb. 18, 25 and March 4.
The cast at that time featured Robert Ari, Mary Bond Davis, Christopher Fitzgerald, Ross Gibby, Julie Halston, Jackie Hoffman, Peter Jacobson, Chip Kidd, Cynthia Nixon, Jessica Stone and B.D . Wong.
Now, Beane and company have taken the next step and launched Free to Be as a full production. Beane will direct. The show will run at the Greenwich House Theater May 23-June 30. Ari, Keith Nobbs and Daphne Rubin-Vega will star. A fourth cast member is yet to be announced.
Ari was previously seen in Drama Dept.'s June Moon, while Nobbs acted in the company's hope is the thing with feathers. Rubin-Vega is a Drama Dept. virgin.
The original album included music and lyrics by Marlo Thomas, Peter Stone, Herb Gardner Carl Reiner, Carol Hall, Sheldon Harnick and Shel Silverstein. *
The running order of the Nov. 26 evening went as follows (according to the DD website):
• Marlo Thomas Intro — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
• "Free To Be You and Me" — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
• "Boy Meets Girl" — Kevin Chamberlin
• "When We Grow Up" — performed by Karen Ziemba
• "Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron" — performed by Isaac Mizrahi
• "Parents are People"
• "Housework"— Ana Gasteyer
• "Helping" — performed by Robert Ari Ari
• "Ladies First" — performed by Cynthia Nixon
• "Girl Land" — performed by Mary Beth Peil
• "Dudley Pippen and the Principal"
• "It's Alright to Cry"
• "My Dog is a Plumber "— performed by Chip Kidd
• "What are Little Boys Made Of"
• "Hooray for Babies"
• "The South Paw"
• "William's Doll" — performed by B.D. Wong
• "Sisters and Brothers" — performed by Mary Bond Davis
• "Dudley Pippen and His No-Friend"
• "Glad to Have a Friend Like You" — performed by Mary Bond Davis, Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
Drama Dept.'s next two shows will be:
• The Dark Kalamazoo, written and starring Oni Faida Lampley, in September 2002
• Marco Millions, a rarely seen work by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Randolph Curtis Rand, in January 2003
—By Robert Simonson