Broadway Buzz

By staff August 23, 2007



Take a look at the cast for the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s New York-bound A Tale of Two Cities.


By Kay Kipling


Now that casting has been announced for the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s A Tale of Two Cities, buzz should really begin to build for this Jill Santoriello musical version of the classic Dickens tale of the French Revolution, which has its world premiere on the Asolo stage Oct. 13-Nov. 18.


A rendering of the set of A Tale of Two Cities.


Biggest name in the cast is probably James Barbour, who headlined Broadway’s Jane Eyre and also played the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Officer Lockstock in the hit Urinetown in the Big Apple. Barbour plays Dickens’ tragic hero, Sydney Carton; his counterpart, Charles Darnay, will be played by Derek Keeling, whom TV viewers may recognize from the recent Grease: You’re the One That I Want competition (he didn’t win that, but now he gets to come to Sarasota for a couple of months instead).


James Barbour


Derek Keeling


 The woman both men love, Lucie Manette, will be portrayed by Jessica Rush, who grew up in Orlando and has worked for Disney both on the cruise line circuit and doing four shows a day as Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Disney World. Judging from Rush’s Web site photo, she’ll be able to add a layer of sex appeal to the role of the loyal wife and daughter Lucie.


Also in the cast are Natalie Toro (Madame Defarge) and Alex Santoriello (Dr. Manette), both of whom can be heard on a 2002 CD concept recording of the show, which is bound to draw some comparisons to megahit Les Miserables. The composer says Tale is more of a traditional book musical, though, not a pop opera.


Natalie Toro


Beyond the onstage talents, Tale also boasts some impressive names behind the scenes, including set designer Tony Walton (who did the original productions of Chicago and Grand Hotel), costume designer David Zinn (Broadway’s current hit Xanadu), and of course our very own Asolo artistic director Michael Donald Edwards, who will direct the whole shebang. Executive producers are Barbra Russell and Ron Sharpe and producers include Sharon A. Fordham, Theater Associates; David Sonnenberg, the Monagle Group; and Vincent Russell.


Previews here begin Oct. 13 and continue through Oct. 25, followed by not one but two gala opening nights, the first, Oct. 26, with a London theme, and the second, Oct. 27, with a Parisian accent. The run concludes Nov. 18, and plans are to take it to Broadway in early 2008 (fingers crossed for good reviews and an available theater there).


For ticket info, call 351-8000 or go to
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