Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Producers of the $A6.2 million Australian production of An Officer And A Gentleman: The Musical insist they have not abandoned hopes of taking the tuner to the U.S. despite having to curtail its world-premiere season in Sydney and postpone plans to tour Melbourne and Brisbane. Adapted for the stage by Douglas Day Stewart, who wrote the hit 1982 movie, and Sharleen Cooper Cohen, the show opened at the Lyric Theatre on May 18, and a sizable number of U.S. theater producers and owners attended. It will now close July 1, and producers John Frost and Cooper Cohen said the tuner will go back into development to allow them to make changes and relaunch the musical “ahead of a possible tour of the U.S.” A spokesman for Frost tells Deadline that, despite the attenuated run, “there has been serious interest from overseas and there are ongoing discussions about the next step.” He added, “The priority is to get the show right, then look at other options.” Frost is Australia’s most successful commercial legit producer whose credits include Fame, Wicked, Annie and the Broadway production of Hairspray. An Officer And A Gentleman: The Musical also had a proven director in Simon Phillips (Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert: The Musical) and music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner. But most of the reviews from here have been negative, typified by The Australian’s Deborah Jones, who described the show as “surprisingly dull despite its noisiness” and surmised Phillips had too little time to work with the actors and on shaping the piece.
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