Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Tickets
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Aug 15 2015
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
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 film of the same name. John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sherie Rene Scott played the lead roles at opening, with Joanna Gleason and Gregory Jbara also receiving above-the-title billing. The show premiered in San Diego, California on September 22, 2004, before moving to Broadway in January 2005 and officially opening in March. The show closed on Broadway on September 3, 2006 with a total of 666 performances.
A North American national tour launched on August 4 with Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz reprising his role as Freddy, alongside Tom Hewitt as Lawrence. Future productions are planned for Japan (in October 2006), Mexico City, Spain, and possibly London.
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. Yazbek has also noted that the new number will most likely be the one available when the rights for the show are released to regional and amateur theatres. 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.
The Full Monty composer/lyricist David Yazbek wrote lyrics and composed music for Dirty-Rotten Scoundrels. Broadway's leading choreographer Jerry Mitchell also joins the creative team as choreographer, having teamed up with O'Brien on their previous productions of The Full Monty, Imaginary Friends and Hairspray.
Based on the popular 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels centers on two con men living in the French Riviera. The first, a small-time crook named Freddy Benson, swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health. The other is suave, sophisticated con artist Lawrence Jameson, who also makes his living by talking rich ladies out of their money, but on a much grander scale. After meeting on a train, they unsuccessfully attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn't big enough for the two of them. They agree on a settlement: the first one to extract $50,000 from a young female target wins, and the other must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues, bringing out the best and worst in each man, along with a fun, unexpected twist.
The show opens on the French Riviera, where Lawrence is a con artist making a very nice living off the lonely wealthy women who vacation there, although he justifies that they are equal partners in deluding themselves (Give Them What They Want). His story is that he is a prince whose kingdom is being threatened by revolutionaries, and he is attempting to find the money to raise an army. One of the women who donates to his cause, a divorcee named Muriel, finds herself wondering the next morning if there isn't more she can help.
Lawrence gets word that another well-known con artist, who goes by the name of The Jackel, is heading to town. On a return trip from Switzerland, he meets Freddy, who is working his small-time grift on a fellow passenger. Assuming that Freddy is the Jackel, Lawrence convinces him that Beaumont sur Mer is not worth his while and sends him on his way. However, a chance encounter with Muriel shows Freddy that Lawrence is a fraud, and he confronts him at his palatial estate. The splendor of Lawrence's world overwhelms Freddy, who begs him to teach him what he knows so that he too can get some Great Big Stuff. Meanwhile, Lawrence asks Andre to make sure Muriel stays away.
Lawrence's assistant-in-crime, the police chief Andre, is unimpressed with Freddy (Chimp in a Suit), and warns that he could give them all away. When Lawrence attempts to show Freddy how it's done by winning over the rich Jolene, his plan backfires as she becomes convinced they will marry and move back to her home (Oklahoma). In order to get out of this mess, Freddy poses as Lawrence's younger brother, who manages to repulse Jolene enough to make her leave (Ruprecht).
Dr. Shuffhausen begins his bizarre treatment of Freddy (Ruffhousin' mit Shuffhausen), but to little effect. Andre is kept busy with distracting Muriel from interrupting Lawrence, until she convinces him that the distraction would work better from a more romantic angle (Like Zis/Like Zat). As they spend a romantic evening together, so do Dr. Schuffhausen/Lawrence and Christine, in an attempt to enrage Buzz/Freddy so that he will find the will to walk again (The More We Dance).
The treatment appears to be working later that evening, as Buzz/Freddy finds new confidence with Christine's help (Love is my Legs). When Dr. Schuffhausen/Lawrence comes to collect his payment, Christine says she almost has it - she's just waiting for some more money from her parents. Confused, Lawrence asks about the soap queen fortune, but Christine explains that she just won the trip through a contest sponsored by a soap company, and she is not actually rich. Touched that she would selflessly sacrifice so much for a stranger, Lawrence refuses the payment and helps her to leave town before Freddy can finish his con (Love Sneaks In).
However, Christine has fallen in love with Buzz/Freddy, and sneaks back to the hotel. She offers him the money and herself, which he accepts with only the slightest twinge of conscience (Son of Great Big Stuff). As they move towards their big kiss, Christine accidentally knocks him out.