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Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:02

Cole Porter's CAN-CAN to return to Broadway in 2014





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The Cole Porter classic, Can-Can, will kick up its heels in a new production to land on Broadway in Spring 2014.  Presented by Jonathan Burrows, nephew of the musical’s original book writer Abe Burrows, the new production features a revised book by David Lee (Two By Two and Gigi at Reprise, TV’s “Frasier” and “Cheers”) and Joel Fields (How I Fell in Love at Abingdon Theatre Company, TV’s “Ugly Betty" and "Raising the Bar").  Lee directs the production, featuring choreography by Patti Colombo (Peter Pan) and musical direction by Tony Award® nominee Steve Orich (Jersey Boys). Prior to the Broadway production, a workshop will take place in New York in October 2013.  Casting has yet to be confirmed.

With a score featuring some of Porter most timeless classics including “I Love Paris,” “C’est Magnifique,” and “It’s All Right With Me,” Can-Can is the story of Pistache, the only café owner in Paris who dares to features the scandalous and illicit Can-Can dance. Will her defiance of the law be end of both her café and her chance for love?

Can-Can was first presented at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre in 1953 by legendary producers Cy Feuer and Ernest H. Martin. The musical made an over-night sensation of Gwen Verdon. A 1960 film adaptation starred Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan.

When this new version of Can-Can was first presented at The Pasadena Playhouse in 2007, co-author and director David Lee commented "My mentor and good friend James Burrows is the son of Abe.  When I mentioned gingerly to him that I was intrigued with trying to work on his dad's show, he was encouraging. Happily, the Cole Porter estate also gave us permission to try out a new approach.  The new book is about 80% percent new – but almost all of Abe's original characters remain. For historical flavor we added a few characters of our own that were actual performers at the Moulin Rouge. Rather than a 'rewriting' of the show, Joel and I like to think of this version as a 're-setting'—as you might a piece of jewelry – polishing up the gems Porter and Burrows left us."


COLE PORTER (Music & Lyrics) was born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891. He graduated from Yale, where his football songs are still popular. After the failure of his first Broadway show, he lived in Europe, where he married legendary beauty Linda Lee Thomas. Returning to New York in the late 1920s he gained renown for many great songs, including "Night and Day," "Begin the Beguine," "You're the Top" and "I Get a Kick Out of You." His 1930s were highlighted by such Broadway offerings as Anything Goes, Gay Divorce and Jubilee. A crippling riding accident in 1937 left him in constant pain, yet he continued to write memorable scores, among them Can-Can, Silk Stockings and his masterpiece, Kiss Me, Kate. He died in 1964.

ABE BURROWS (Original book) Born in NYC, Burrows graduated New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn and attended City College and NYU. His career in radio and television writing began with “This Is New York,” followed by “The Rudy Vallee Program,” “Duffy's Tavern” and “The Abe Burrows Show.” Burrows also wrote, doctored or directed such shows as Guys and Dolls; Make a Wish; Two on the Aisle; Three Wishes for Jamie; Can-Can; Silk Stockings; Say, Darling; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Cactus Flower; Breakfast at Tiffany's; Forty Carats; Good News; Four on a Garden and many others. With Frank Loesser, Burrows won a Pulitzer Prize for How to Succeed…. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he won four Tony® Awards.

DAVID LEE (Director, Co-author) has directed productions of Light Up the Sky, Do I Hear A Waltz?, 110 in the Shade, Diva, Can-Can, Camelot and Art (Pasadena Playhouse), the world premiere of  How I Fell In Love (Williamstown Theater Festival), On The 20th Century, Assassins, Company, A New Brain, Applause, Working, Forum, Zorba, (Ovation nominee-best director), Elegies, Two By Two and Gigi (Reprise).  In 2007 he directed the acclaimed production of South Pacific at the Hollywood Bowl with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell.  His writing for the theater includes a concert adaptation of Can-Can (Encores! with Patti LuPone), and an entirely new book for Can-Can which he directed at the Pasadena Playhouse (Ovation Award-Best Director). David is also a 9-time Emmy Award winning director, writer, and producer for television. He is the co-creator of “Wings” and “Frasier,” for which he also wrote, produced, and directed.  He served as writer/producer for Cheers and directed multiple episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  In addition to 19 Emmy nominations, he is the recipient of the Directors Guild Award, Golden Globe, Producers Guild Award, GLAAD Media Award, British Comedy Award, Television Critics Association Award (three times), the Humanitas Prize (twice), and the Peabody.  

JOEL FIELDS (Co-author). After premiering at the Willimastown Theatre Festival, Fields’s romantic comedy How I Fell in Love received its New York debut at the Abingdon Theatre 's Dorothy Strelsin Theatre in 2011. He received the Abingdon's 2009 Christopher Brian Wolk Award for excellence in playwriting.  Fields has served as writer-producer for numerous series, including “Ugly Betty,” "Raising the Bar," "Over There," and is currently a writer / executive producer on FX's upcoming series "The Americans."

PATTI COLOMBO (Choreographer) received an Emmy nomination and American Choreographapher’s Award for Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby that aired on A&E; she also choreographed the Tony nominated Broadway production. She choreographed the National Tours of Doctor Dolittle w/Tommy Tune and Seussical, the Musical w/Cathy Rigby. She recently choreographed and received the New Jersey Critic’s Award for On The Town, Seven Brides and Kiss me Kate at Paper Mill. Her choreography for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Goodspeed Opera Housereceived a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and The Elliot Norton Award for the National Tour in 2007.  She received an Ovation Award for Radio Gals at the Pasadena Playhouse and was Ovation nominated for the revival of Can-Can there. Other awards include Critic’s Circle Award for White Christmas at Denver Center; L.A. Drama-Logue Awards for Drood (West Coast premiere),  Most Happy Fella, and West Side listed Patti as one of the 10 most prolific choreographers of 2011. Patti also choreographed over 100 episodes of the Emmy Award winning “Adventures in Wonderland” for The Disney Channel.  For TV, Patti has been pleased to work with David Hyde Pierce, Kristin Chenowith, Martin Short, Drew Carey, Christine Baranski, Jane Kaczmarek and Malcolm Getz. 

STEVE ORICH (Music Supervisor, Arranger & Orchestrator) received a Tony nomination for Best Orchestrations for his work on Jersey Boys, with the album winning the Grammy. Mr. Orich has conducted Do I Hear a Waltz?, A Class Act, 110 in the Shade, and Can-Can at the Pasadena Playhouse, Paint Your Wagon at the Geffen Playhouse, The Great American Songbook at the Taper, and vocal directed Bernstein’s Mass at the Hollywood Bowl. Since Jersey Boys, he has orchestrated Turn of the Century at the Goodman (directed by Tommy Tune), Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots (directed by Richard Maltby), Time After Time, and A Christmas Memory. Next Summer he’ll be orchestrating Noah Racey’s Pulse at the Asolo Rep. He has orchestrated & conducted numerous Broadway-themed albums, including solo recordings for Helen Reddy, Petula Clark, Debbie Gravitte, Judy Kaye and Deborah Gibson. His orchestrations have been performed by the Boston Pops, at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the White House, and around the world. 

JONATHAN BURROWS (Producer) began his professional career as an assistant stage director at the New York City Opera in 1966 with Placido Domingo in Carmen and Madama Butterfly, Beverly Sills in The Tales Of Hoffman and many more.  Two years later he was producing theatre in New York including Athol Fugard’s Hello & Goodbye directed by George C. Scott, starring Martin Sheen & Coleen Dewhurst; Contributions starring Claudia McNeil; the national tour of The Mad Show; and Fire on Broadway in1969. When he turned his attention to film, he started as an assistant director for David Lean on Ryan’s Daughter (MGM, 1970). After joining the executive training program at Columbia Pictures, he worked as a production executive and in other capacities on 17 major films including A Delicate Balance with Katharine Hepburn, The Iceman Cometh with Lee Marvin and Jeff Bridges, Rhinoceros with Zero Mostel, The Homecoming with Ian Holm, and The Man In the Glass Booth  with Maximilian Schell.  Burrows served as a producer for Texasville (Columbia, 1990) and Fletch (Universal, 1984).