Jan 10, 2022
Broadway Live Insider: An Officer and a Gentleman Preview
By Broadway Live INSIDER - Michael J. Miller
Producer Stephen Gabriel and the creative team behind a brand new musical adaptation of the beloved Oscar winning 1992 movie An Officer and a Gentleman were putting the finishing touches on their work at the end of 2019. Just weeks before a 50-city first national tour was scheduled to launch, the global Covid pandemic shut everything down.
Weeks of delay became months, and the creative team decided to make the best of a terrible situation. Gabriel brought the creative team and cast together and created their own quarantined bubble in a Cleveland hotel and spent weeks workshopping the show.
The shutdown was difficult for everyone, but Gabriel, now that the tour has started, looks back at the situation as a “terrific positive” as far as his show goes.
The weeks in isolation with the creative team and cast allowed them to make “leaps and bounds” from what they originally had. “It was so great for the show,” he now reflects, as the “new and improved” Officer and a Gentleman has begun its long-awaited tour.
The 30-person group started each day with a session of boot camp calisthenics followed by intensive rewrites and changes to the musical that ultimately made the show the touring success that it is today.
The uplifting musical tells the story of a Naval officer candidate overcoming obstacles and falling in love with a woman determined to improve her own life. In addition to the No. 1 hit “Up Where We Belong”, the show is packed with fan-favorite music from the ‘80s including hits by Steve Winwood, Styx, Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield and many others.
Early reviews of the first national tour also praise the production for its athletic feats. Wes Williams, starring as officer candidate Zach Mayo, brings on board his skills as a personal trainer to enhance the choreography with actual Naval calisthenics.
“It’s crazy because musical theatre is already so strenuous – you’re singing and dancing for two and a half hours, and you’re doing it eight shows a week,” Williams recently related to The Smith Center of Las Vegas, an early stop on the tour, “But when you add in all these physical feats like jumping jacks and pushups and climbing a 12-and-a-half foot wall, it makes it much more insane for the audience watching.”
Lexington audiences will get to feel the burn when An Officer and a Gentleman sets up boot camp on the Opera House stage the weekend of January 28.