An article in this past Sunday's edition of The New York Times made the point that there is a dearth of bankable leading men for Broadway musicals--i.e., performers whose presence in a show will cause the public to buy scads of tickets because they are well known through their work in film and television, on top of whatever stage credits they may possess. But the article pointed out that there are plenty of guys who, though they don't also happen to be movie and/or TV stars, are eminently qualified for plum stage assignments. And since there aren't enough leading roles in Broadway and Broadway-caliber shows to go around, these guys tend to start salivating whenever such a part does come along.
Which is precisely why, according to a reliable source, such A-list singer/actors as George Dvorsky, Marc Kudisch, Daniel McDonald, and Jim Walton have been vying for the male lead in the revisal of the Cole Porter-Howard Lindsay-Russel Crouse musical Red, Hot and Blue to be presented at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey beginning October 24.
Though Paper Mill press rep Charlie Siedenburg declines to comment on potential casting of the show's male lead, he is happy to confirm that Debbie Gravitte will be starring in the production and to provide other details. "Bruce Adler and Michael Gruber also have leads in the show," says Siedenburg. "Michael Leeds revised the book, with permission from the Lindsay and Crouse estates, and directed a production up at Goodspeed. Since then, two or three ensemble roles have been added, and new orchestrations are being written for the 16-piece orchestra we're going to have. We also have a great design team: Ken Foy for the sets, Ann Hould-Ward for the costumes, and Ken Billington for the lighting." Leeds will direct the show again for Paper Mill, Andy Blankenbuehler will choreograph, and Tom Helm will serve as musical director.
It will be fun to see who does wind up getting the male lead in Red, Hot and Blue. Meanwhile, interested parties should know that one of the most coveted jobs of the upcoming Broadway season is officially no longer up for grabs: It has just been announced that, after lengthy negotiations, Patrick Wilson is confirmed to play the role of Curly in the Cameron Mackintosh-Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! that is set to open at the Gershwin Theatre in March.