Doctor Dolittle Talks to Animals in Chicago, Oct. 4-16

The Windy City will be one of the stops for the Broadway-bound touring production of Doctor Dolittle. The animal-friendly show will be presented as part of the 2005-2006 Neumann Homes Broadway in Chicago season, and will run from October 4th to 16th at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 West Randolph Street).

Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show, Dracula) plays the plum title role of the doctor who talks to the animals, while Nancy Anderson (Wonderful Town, Kiss Me, Kate) plays Emma Fairfax, his love interest. Rounding out the principal roles are Tony Yazbeck (Gypsy) as Matthew Mug, Ed Dixon (Les Misérables, The Iceman Cometh ) as Albert Blossom, Eric Michael Gillett as General Bellows/Straight Arrow; Shadoe Alan Brandt as Tommy Stubbins/Duck and Susan J. Jacks as Polynesia. The show features a cast of 26.

The tour (which originated at the Pittsburgh CLO) marks the American premiere of the show, which previously was staged in London; numerous changes have been made from shore to shore. The creators have also created a somewhat darker world than that portrayed in the film, with the show opening on the title character's trial--for murder. Glenn Casale (Peter Pan) will direct, with Scott Ellis (She Loves Me) credited as "artistic consultant." Tony winner Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie) has signed on for the choreography, while Disney's Michael Curry will handle the visual effects of the show, including its puppets. Also on the creative team are Ken Billington (lighting), Kim Scharnberg (orchestrations), Michael Duff (music direction), Sam Lutfiyya (music coordinator), David Chase (dance arranger), Paul Rubin (flying choreographer), David H. Lawrence (hair designer), Ann Hould-Ward (costumes).

Aside from Bricusse (Jekyll and Hyde, Stop the World--I Want to Get Off), everyone on the creative staff is new to the show, which will feature its actors manipulating animal puppets in full view of the audience. Instead of a direct translation of the well-loved movie musical that starred Rex Harrison, the creators have opted to go back to Hugh Lofting's books, drawing plot strands from a number of them.

The 2005-2006 Neumann Homes Broadway in Chicago season will also include a new touring company of Cats, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Patrick Cassidy, Chicago, Hairspray, Little Women and Tuesdays with Morrie. A replacement production for The Woman in White has not yet been announced.

Group tickets are currently available for all of the season shows. Groups of 20 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977-1710. Single tickets to Doctor Dolittle (as well as Cats) are currently on sale. Single tickets to the remaining productions will go on sale at future dates to be announced. Broadway In Chicago gift certificates, which can be redeemed for any production or for season ticket packages, can be obtained at Broadway In Chicago box offices (24 W. Randolph St. and 151 W. Randolph St.) or by calling Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1400. In addition, benefits are available to season subscribers; they can be viewed at www.BroadwayinChicago.com.

For more information on the show, visit www.doctordolittlethemusical.com.

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