Director Christopher Ashley, Tony-nominated for “The Rocky Horror Show,” has come to the rescue as a last-minute replacement for John Rando on Goodspeed Musicals’ summer show “They All Laughed,” a Joe DiPietro retooling of the 1926 Gershwin musical “Oh, Kay!” Goodspeed executive director Michael Price made the announcement Thursday.
Caught between helming the Gotham-bound revival of “A Thousand Clowns” and the Dodgers’ speedy transfer of Off Broadway’s “Urinetown!” to the Henry Miller Theater, Rando suddenly found himself with two shows opening on Broadway this July.
The director, who is currently represented on Broadway with Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party,” opted out of his Goodspeed contract just one week before “They All Laughed!” goes into rehearsals Tuesday at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. The show gives its first perf June 29 and runs through Sept. 22.
Ashley’s own sked is no less hectic. In August, he helms Michele Lowe’s “The Smell of the Kill” at the Berkshire Theater Festival. The Claudia Shear starrer promises to open Off Broadway in the fall if all goes well in Stockbridge, Mass. In the fall, Ashley goes on to direct Paul Rudnick’s “Rude Entertainment” at the Drama Dept. and Michael Lindsay Abaire’s “Wonder of the World,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker, at the Manhattan Theater Club. There are also plans for a national tour of “The Rocky Horror Show” this fall.
Commercial producers attached to “They All Laughed” include Jonathan Pollard, Bernie Kukoff and Dena Hammerstein, the team behind DiPietro’s long-running Off Broadway musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Those producers, along with Goodspeed, are looking to take “They All Laughed” to New York, and have assembled a top creative team that includes Ashley, orchestrator Don Sebesky, choreographer Joey McKneely, set designer John Lee Beatty, costume designer Jess Goldstein, and lighting designer Ken Billington.
“They All Laughed!” features DiPietro’s new book, based on the original Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse book for the Gershwins’ “Oh, Kay!”