Tonight, I conducted an InDepth InterView with Tony- winning choreographer and director Jerry Mitchell in which we discussed his irreproachable and much-celebrated work on each year's Broadway Bares benefits in addition to his Broadway credits which include YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, HAIRSPRAY, LEGALLY BLONDE, as well as the forthcoming Broadway productions LOVE NEVER DIES and a revival of BALLROOM. We also discussed working with legendary stars of Hollywood and Broadway like Ann Miller, Lauren Bacall, Donna McKechnie, Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Morrison, Laura Bell Bundy and many more! Here is an exclusive Sneak Peek!
Here, in this sneak peak of the forthcoming InDepth InterView: Jerry Mitchell, Mitchell tells us about CATCH ME IF YOU CAN which boasts a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and direction by frequent Mitchell collaborator Jack O'Brien and confirms that will be making its way to Broadway this season as well as his thoughts on the knock-out score following the Seattle tryout last year at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle and the recent workshop in New York earlier this year in which most of the same cast participated, led by Aaron Tveit, Norbert Leo Butz, Tom Wopat and Kerry Butler. The musical is, of course, based on the Steven Spielberg film of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
BROADWAY BARES XX: Strip-Opology raised $1,015,985, a new record, and Mitchell deserves due credit as one of the foremost fundraising Broadway personalities in history. Although the majority of our discussion this evening was focused on Mitchell's tireless efforts staging star-studded, big-time Broadway blow-out benefits to raise awareness and funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as his decades-long partnership with recent Tony Award Special Recipient Tom Viola (my interview with him about all things Broadway Bares and Easter Bonnet can be found below), Mitchell was also kind enough to discuss his in-the-works projects such as CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Don't miss the complete InDepth InterView: Jerry Mitchell coming soon!
PC: Is CATCH ME IF YOU CAN coming to Broadway this season?
JM: Yes. It is going to be on Broadway this season.
PC: It's one of the best scores in decades.
JM: You know, we recently did a reading and it was very, very successful.
PC: I've heard that some roles and songs have been cut since the Seattle tryout production. Can you tell me what has changed?
JM: I don't want to comment on any specific things because I think that would be inappropriate to do without the writers being able to comment first. But, my feeling is that we went to work - like all good creative people do - and we made it better and we got the response we needed to get in the reading which, of course, gets you the checks you need to have at the end of the reading so you can move forward and bring the show to Broadway. And that's what we're planning to do. This season. It will be on Broadway before the season is out.
PC: Which theatre? The Neil Simon?
JM: We're not sure. I'm telling you honestly, there has been talk of a lot of theaters and that has been one of them. But, we're not sure. I actually have a meeting tomorrow for three and a half hours with David Rockwell, the set designer, Jack [O'Brien, the director], and myself to talk about what we liked in Seattle, what we hope to change now to fit the changes in the story and to - you know, the show in Seattle was a LORT production, it was budgeted for four million dollars or something…
PC: It looked great, though!
JM: Yeah, it looked great and it looked fabulous and we were all very proud of what we achieved with that amount of money. And we're not looking to be bigger, but we do want to be better. We want to be more specific and more detailed in every choice we make.
PC: Is Kerry Butler still doing the show? Her "Fly, Fly Away" is untouchable!
JM: She sang it in the workshop! (Dramatic Pause.) Kerry Butler is f***ing awesome!
PC: I agree. It's such a great performance and one of the best Broadway songs ever. And the star of the show, Aaron Tveit?
JM: He did the workshop! Norbert did the workshop! (Laughs.)
PC: What great news that Broadway has finally caught CATCH ME!
JM: You know, one of the great things Jack said to all of them is that, "When all of these people are here again to read this - as much work as we've done - it really is a testament to the work being done and the people you want to surround yourself with."
PC: You couldn't ask for a better score, cast, director - or choreographer!
JM: Thanks. I only do a show unless I absolutely love the score.