Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (musical)
|Dirty Rotten Scoundrels|
Original Broadway Production Poster
|Basis||1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels|
|Productions||2004 San Diego tryout
2006 North American tour
2008 North American tour
2008 Mexico City
2011 West Hartford
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by David Yazbek and a book by Jeffrey Lane; it is based on the 1988 film of the same name. The musical ran on Broadway in 2005 and has also had multiple tours in North America.
The musical premiered in San Diego, California on September 22, 2004, before moving to Broadway in January 2005 and officially opening in March at the Imperial Theatre. The show closed on Broadway on September 3, 2006 with a total of 626 performances. The director was Jack O'Brien, choreographer was Jerry Mitchell, scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Carves, and lighting design was by Kenneth Posner. The cast included John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sherie Rene Scott, with Joanna Gleason and Gregory Jbara.
The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Original Broadway Cast Recording CD was recorded on March 14, 2005 at Right Track Studio in New York City and was released on May 10, 2005 by Ghostlight Records (an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records).
A North American national Equity tour launched on August 4, 2006 with Norbert Leo Butz reprising his role as Freddy, alongside Tom Hewitt as Lawrence. The Equity tour ended on August 19, 2007. The 25-city non-Equity tour of the show, with Jamie Jackson as Lawrence and Doug Thompson as Freddy, debuted September 25, 2007 in Dayton, Ohio, with its final performance on March 23, 2008, in Memphis, Tennessee. International productions have opened in Tokyo, Mexico City, Madrid, Stuttgart, Seoul, Oslo, Stockholm, Tampere, Plzeň and productions are planned for Copenhagen, Reykjavík, and London.
The musical opens at a lively Casino near the French Riviera ("Overture"). Inside the casino, con-artist Lawrence Jameson is tricking wealthy women out of their money with his "bodyguard" Andre ("Give Them What They Want"). One such woman named Muriel and a few other women express their devotion and amorous feelings for Lawrence ("What Was a Woman To Do").Andre warns Lawrence about a con-artist, known as “The Jackal”. While on a train, Lawrence watches an American named Freddy Benson swindle money out of a woman, but making much less money than Lawrence does. Lawrence ends up bringing Freddy to his lavish mansion, where Freddy envies how Lawrence has made a living out of swindling. Then he talks of all the things he wants when he’s rich ("Great Big Stuff"). Freddy asks Lawrence to “show [him] his ways.” Andre thinks Freddy is unworthy of Lawrence's attention, and compares Freddy to a ("Chimp in a Suit"). Lawrence doesn’t think much of it until Jolene Oakes, a woman he's swindled, informs him at gunpoint that the two of them will be getting married and moving to Oklahoma ("Oklahoma?"). Lawrence decides to use Freddy’s help. Freddy poses as Lawrence’s repulsive brother Ruprecht ("All About Ruprecht"). Seeing that Lawrence plans to make Ruprecht a large part of their life together, Jolene calls off the wedding.
Lawrence begins to think that there isn’t enough room in town for both him and Freddy. They make a deal: The first to get $50,000 out of a woman gets to stay in town, while the other has to leave. Immediately after making the deal the arrival of “The American Soap Queen, Christine Colgate" is announced ("Here I Am"). Both con men decide to make her the target of their scams. Freddie creates an alias as a man paralyzed from the waist down. She and Freddy become deep in conversation and he says there is a therapist, Dr. Shuffhausen, who can help him, but he doesn’t have the money that Dr. Shuffhausen charges, $50,000. Christine tells him to keep his hopes up ("Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True"). She tells Freddy she has the money to pay for the therapist, as Freddy had hoped ("The Miracle"). She then tells him that Dr. Shuffhausen is at the hotel. Freddy is shocked when he sees it is none other than Lawrence.
After a quick reintroduction ("Entr'acte"), Lawrence performs several torturous tests on Freddy’s legs who has to endure them silently while in front of Christine ("Ruffhousin' Mit Shuffhausen"). In the side show Muriel meets Andre and the two fall in love ("Like Zis/Like Zat"). Lawrence is trying in every effort to get close to Christine ("The More We Dance"), when he realizes that Christine is not as rich as they thought. Lawrence tells Freddy that he thinks they should call off the deal. Freddy reluctantly agrees the bet will be changed to whether or not he sleeps with her, then hires two sailors to kidnap Lawrence so that he can get Christine alone.
Freddy meets back with Christine at the hotel where he tells her he needs motivation to get out of his chair. She says she’ll be his motivation ("Love is My Legs"). She sits on the bed till he is finally able to stand up out of his chair and walk to her on the bed (where he "accidentally" falls on top of her in exhaustion), when Lawrence shows up and it turns out to be a test planned by him and Christine. Lawrence has the same two sailors kidnap Freddy while he takes Christine to the train station so she can leave ("Love Sneaks In"). Freddy shows up, having escaped the sailors too late to get to Christine.
The next day Freddy meets Christine back at the hotel who says she couldn’t leave “without seeing you again.” ("Son of Great Big Stuff") The two get in bed together before the scene is switched to Lawrence’s mansion where Christine shows up, telling him tearfully how she came back to see Freddy, how they made love, and then when she woke up all her money was gone: “I’m beginning to think he was never really paralyzed.” Out of remorse, Lawrence packs 50 thousand dollars in a suitcase and tells her to take it. Christine takes it, but returns and gives him back the suitcase saying, ‘I’ll have something so much better to remember you by” before leaving.
A few minutes later Freddy shows up in his underwear. Lawrence is angry at him for taking Christine’s money. Freddy, however, claims that they never made love at all; they were about to when she knocked him out. When he woke up all his belongings were gone. Lawrence then opens up the suitcase to find the money gone, replaced by Freddy’s clothes and a note that reads, “Goodbye boys. It was fun! Love, 'The Jackal'”, thus revealing that she knew about their scam the entire time, and instead ended up scamming them ("The Reckoning"). A while later Christine returns to Lawrence's chateau, bringing several other people with her. The guys finally admit the scam was a good adventure for them ("Dirty Rotten Number") and they hatch a scheme to scam the crowd of people together in the "Finale".
- For the first national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the number "Give Them What They Want" was replaced with (according to Yazbek) a more suitable opening number, "The Only Game in Town".
- The line in "Give Them What They Want" which mentions David Niven is a reference to Niven's starring role as Laurence Jameson in the original film Bedtime Story.
Cast and replacement history
- John Lithgow as Lawrence Jameson
- Sherie Rene Scott as Christine Colgate
- Joanna Gleason as Muriel Eubanks
- Norbert Leo Butz as Freddy Benson
- Sara Gettelfinger as Jolene Oakes
- Gregory Jbara as Inspector Andre
- Jonathan Pryce replaced John Lithgow as Lawrence Jameson on January 17, 2006
- Mylinda Hull replaced Sara Gettelfinger as Jolene Oakes on January 17, 2006
- Rachel York replaced Sherie Rene Scott as Christine Colgate on February 7, 2006
- Julie Connors filled in for Jolene Oakes from April 25, 2006 - April 30, 2006
- Sara Gettelfinger returned to the role of Jolene Oakes on May 2, 2006
- Rachel deBenedet filled in for Muriel Eubanks from May 2, 2006 - May 21, 2006
- Lucie Arnaz replaced Joanna Gleason as Muriel Eubanks on May 23, 2006
- Sherie Rene Scott returned to the role of Christine Colgate on June 20, 2006
- Julie Connors filled in for Jolene Oakes from June 20, 2006 - June 24, 2006
- Dennis Parlato filled in for Lawrence Jameson from July 18, 2006 - July 20, 2006
- Timothy J. Alex filled in for Freddy Benson from July 18, 2006 - July 20, 2006
- Keith Carradine replaced Jonathan Pryce as Lawrence Jameson on July 21, 2006
- Brian d'Arcy James replaced Norbert Leo Butz as Freddy Benson on July 21, 2006
- Dennis Parlato filled in for Andre from July 25, 2006 - August 3, 2006
- Julie Connors filled in for Christine Colgate from July 25, 2006 - August 4, 2006
- Richard Kind replaced Gregory Jbara as Andre on August 4, 2006
- Rachel deBenedet filled in for Muriel Eubanks from August 5, 2006- August 31, 2006
- Lucie Arnaz returned to the role of Muriel Eubanks on September 1, 2006
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Internet Broadway Database
- Official website for the 2005 musical
- Great Big Stuff - a fan site, including recording information and song lyrics
- Amazon listing for original cast recording.
- Production: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Working in the Theatre Seminar video at American Theatre Wing, April 2005
- Index to archived images from Jbara's backstage web cam
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Herrasmieshuijarit) premiered in Finland on 4th of September 2007 in The TTT-Theatre of Tampere, Tampereen Työväen Teatteri