Tony noms freshen up prospects for ‘Rotten’

Production to launch national tour in 2006

This article was updated at 7:03 p.m.

Tuesday’s windfall of 11 nominations including musical, book, score, direction and all three leads for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” looks likely to accelerate the show’s journey to the road and international stages.

“I look at a show as a franchise,” lead “Scoundrels” producer Marty Bell told Daily Variety Tuesday. “Once you get this type of recognition, it really helps set you up for the road and for productions abroad.”

Bell said “Scoundrels” will launch its national tour in July 2006, with offshore stagings in the pipeline for London, Japan, Scandinavia and Spain.

Based on the MGM comedy about two con men competing to fleece a woman they think is an heiress, the show began its life at the Globe Theater in San Diego. Box office in New York has been steady in the range of $700,000 per week.

“In New York we’re on a good roll, and we’ve managed to create a strong identity for the show with our marketing campaign,” Bell said. “But the hardest thing for a Broadway show is getting established outside New York on the road, so this is where exposure on the Tony telecast really helps.”

In a unique marketing ploy, the producers have teamed with QVC to promote the show, airing some 2,000 spots for a specially created “Scoundrels” jewelry line.

Bookers often announce tours to coincide with the Tony noms. “Doubt” is expected to hit the road for a 35-plus city tour starting in September ’06, possibly after a sit-down at a regional theater. The show is being viewed as another “Proof,” which had a healthy run on the road after winning the Tony and Pulitzer Prize several years ago.

Also gearing up to spin off Gotham is Broadway’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” but not before September 2006. Off Broadway musical hit “Altar Boyz” is expected to open for an extended run in Detroit this September, followed by another sit-down production in Chicago in February and other cities rolling out after that, including San Francisco.

(Frank Rizzo in New Haven, Conn., contributed to this report.)

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