Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Get a Kick Out of Reba?

Michael Riedel tells us today in the NY Post that Reba McEntire may be headlining a Roundabout revival of Anything Goes next season, directed by Kathleen Marshall. McEntire, who famously made her Broadway (and stage) debut in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun to rave reviews and sell-out business, winning a 2001 Theatre World Award as well as a special award from the Drama Desk. Plans to film her performance as Annie Oakley never came to fruition and instead she signed up for her long-running self-titled sitcom. There was a brief return to play Nellie Forbush in the 2005 Carnegie Hall concert of South Pacific and even talk of her returning in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (did you know that she was James Cameron's first choice for the part of Mrs. J.J. Brown in the film Titanic but had to turn it down because of her touring schedule?). Now it looks as if she'll take on the role of Reno Sweeney, another part originated by Ethel Merman, but also memorably essayed by Eileen Rodgers in a 1962 off-Broadway revival, Patti LuPone in a Lincoln Center revision in 1987 and Elaine Paige in the London transfer of the Lincoln Center production.

It is here that I confess muted interest. I am a fan of Reba; however, not so much of that chestnut of a show, with a some fine Cole Porter tunes but with a book of miniscule prescience and substance - and I'm referring to the 1987 rewrite! (I notoriously retitled an unusually plagued production at my college Everything Blows). There is another Merman role that I think would fit Ms. McEntire hand-to-glove: Mrs. Sally Adams in a revival of Call Me Madam. (She was legitimately born on a thousand acres of Oklahoma land. Make that seven thousand acres). Madam has only been revived in an Encores! concert with Tyne Daly and is dated in its Truman-era topicality (those phone calls about Margaret's recitals would be obscure today, but I'm sure Lady Iris and I would be in stitches), but with the right star and personality, much like McEntire's, it would be a good time. Just sayin'...

3 comments:

Flip Chick said...

I'm a fairly new Reba fan (just a couple of months) and I would jump at the chance to see her on Broadway. I confess that I don't really know ANYTHING GOES very well. I know there have been several versions done. I suppose it's anyone's guess whether this will be a copy of a previous version or a brand new one!

All I know is that Reba is amazingly talented and has a huge fan base. I hope this show happens, that it turns out to be a good production...and that I get to see it!

SarahB said...

"Hi Harry, Is Margaret with you? Denver? Tsh tsk tsk. Well, the critics don't know everything." We watch Merm as Sally Adams on a REGULAR basis at ChezSarahB. I definitely agree that Reba could take this one on.

Kari said...

Which is fine till Kathleen Marshall sucks the life out of it...