Thesp to play role of millionaire Osgood

NEW YORK — Tony Curtis will headline a new national tour of the stage musical “Some Like It Hot,” formerly known as the 1972 stage musical “Sugar.”

The William Morris Agency is repping a 2002 tour of the tuner based on Billy Wilder’s film classic about two men who dress in drag and join an all-female band to escape the mob.

The 1959 film starred Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe and Joe E. Brown in the role of Osgood Fielding III, the eccentric multimillionaire who falls in love with a female musician only to discover that she’s actually a man.

Curtis is signed to play the role of Osgood in the revival, skedded to open July 27, 2002, at the Aladdin Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, with a national tour and possibly Broadway to follow.

Diane Masters and Jeffrey Spolan are producers, with William Morris representing the production for booking and merchandising. WMA’s Biff Liff reps the show’s director-choreographer, Dan Siretta. Liff was a longtime associate producer for David Merrick, the original Broadway producer of “Sugar.”

Title is key

“It’s a great vehicle, but only with the title ‘Some Like It Hot,’ ” said Masters, a longtime publicist. She said Merrick had wanted to use the film’s title for the original stage show but did not succeed in obtaining the rights. Masters and Spolan said they had secured those rights for their revival from MGM Pathe.

Curtis said he did not expect the Osgood role to be expanded for the “Some Like It Hot” musical.

“I don’t want any beefing up,” he said. “I’m just excited about being in a musical, singing and dancing.” He anticipated that his Osgood would be “more a man of the period” than Brown’s interpretation. “My Osgood will be very rich, elegant.”

The actor’s last turn on the stage came 21 years ago in a Mark Taper Forum production of Neil Simon’s “I Ought to Be in Pictures,” directed by Herbert Ross. “It crashed a dying death,” the actor recalled. “I hated the experience.”

As for the film “Some Like It Hot,” Curtis has a small percentage of the gross. “The movie has taken in about $130 million,” he estimated. “I’ve probably made $1.5 million from it.”

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