Dr. Dolittle will be talking to the animals at The Media Theatre over the holidays as he brings in the New Year at The Media Theatre. The Philadelphia region's first professional production of the Leslie Bricusse two act musical based on the classic 1968 Rex Harrison film and the stories of Hugh Lofting will play tonight, November 20 to January 27.
The humorous family musical following the exploits of an eccentric veterinarian in 1920's England takes audiences on a journey from the town of Puddleby-On-The-Marsh around the world in search of the Great Sea Snail. Along the way, the doctor falls for the niece of the magistrate who believes he is a criminal, sets sail on a huge moth, and brings two seals together to live in wedded bliss.
Artistic Director Jesse Cline is directing the upbeat production, which features Philadelphia sportscaster and actor Bill Vargus in the title role. This is Billy V.'s second appearance on The Media Theatre stage, following a successful run of Love Letters last season.
Delaware County's Lauren Cupples will portray Emma, the young lady who becomes enthralled with Dr. Dolittle's fondness and respect for animals. She was seen on Media's professional stage in The Sound of Music and Annie. Dan Schiff, who worked alongside Cupples in both productions, returns to The Media Theatre for his sixth musical as her uncle, General Bellowes.
The role of Matthew, the young man who sells fish to feed the cats and has a romantic yearning for Emma, will be played by Philadelphia's Sean Thompson.
Hillary Parker, of Swarthmore, will portray Polynesia, the parrot who knows everything there is to know about Dr. Dolittle. The cast also includes Delaware County residents Amy Bebout, Dann Dunn, JP Dunphy, Megan Rucidlo, Roger Ricker, and Marie Sminkey.
Philadelphia's Tamara Anderson, seen as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray at The Media Theatre, returns for her second consecutive musical production as Straight Arrow, who belts out "Save The Animals". Two Center City residents, Terrance Hart and Michael Wessells, appear in the show.
New York's Jef Canter will play circus owner Albert Blossom. The role of 10 year old Tommy will be portrayed by two Media Theatre New School students, Sadat Waddy of Philadelphia (also a member of the Broadway Dreams Foundation), and Springfield's Michael Wells.
Patrick Ludt, who was seen in Rent and Jekyll and Hyde, will portray Dr. Dolittle on Saturday afternoons during the run.
The youth ensemble will utilize their various personalities and talents to portray a unique and diverse group of animals that are familiar with Dr. Dolittle. They are Katheryn Cooper, Katey Davis, Amber Duncan, Elaina Fitzgerald, Justin Fitzgerald, Owen Mannion, LiAnna Massey, Shawna McHugh, Curtis Morenzy, Fiona Moser, Hannah Murphy, Sean O' Neill, Amir Newton, and Kristiana Rannalli.
For tickets to Dr. Dolittle at The Media Theatre, which features a live orchestra conducted by resident music director Tom Fosnocht, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. This is the Philadelphia region's first professional production of the family show tonight, November 20-January 27.
The Philadelphia Zoo will have its Zoo On Wheels in the theatre lobby on Saturday afternoons in December as an added attraction.
(Pictured: Sportscaster and actor Bill Vargus as Dr. Dolittle as he speaks to one of the Philadelphia Zoo's giraffes. Dr. Dolittle will play at The Media Theatre Nov. 20-Jan. 27)