The Arena Stage world premiere of the new musical Dave, which began previews July 18, officially opens in Washington, D.C., July 27. Drew Gehling, who originated the role of Dr. Pomatter in the Broadway musical Waitress, plays both President Bill Mitchell and the title role.
As previously reported, the first five previews of the new musical were canceled when Tony nominee Douglas Sills underwent minor unexpected surgery. While Sills, cast as Chief of Staff Bob Alexander, recovered, Dave cast member Jared Bradshaw stepped into the role. Sills has since returned to the production.
The cast also features Mamie Parris (Cats, School of Rock) as First Lady Ellen Mitchell, Josh Breckenridge (Come From Away), Rachel Flynn (Off-Broadway’s Heathers the Musical), Bryonha Marie Parham (Prince of Broadway), and Jonathan Rayson (Little Shop of Horrors).
Rounding out the company are Jenny Ashman, Dana Costello, Trista Dollison, Sherri L. Edelen, Kevin R. Free, Adam J. Levy, Erin Quill, Jamison Scott, Thomas Adrian Simpson, and Vishal Vaidya.
Dave features a book by three-time Tony winner Thomas Meehan (Annie, Hairspray, The Producers) and Tony nominee Nell Benjamin (Mean Girls, Legally Blonde), music by Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, If/Then), and lyrics by Benjamin. Tony nominee Tina Landau, currently represented on Broadway with SpongeBob SquarePants, directs.
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Dave, adapted from the Oscar-nominated film, tells the story of high school teacher (and presidential lookalike) Dave Kovic, who is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the Commander-in-Chief. When the President falls ill under less than “presidential” circumstances, Dave is thrust into the Oval Office to avoid a national scandal, and must find a way to gain the trust and love of the American people and the First Lady.
The production also has scenic design by Tony Award nominee Dane Laffrey, costume design by two-time Tony Award nominee Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by five-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Tony Award nominee Walter Trarbach, projection design by Drama Desk Award winner Peter Nigrini, and casting by Telsey + Company/Patrick Goodwin, CSA.