Is Gavin Lee the New Dick Van Dyke???
Date: 28 August 2007
Gavin Lee so impressed as Bert in the 2004 West End premiere of Mary Poppins that he was asked to reprise his role for the musical’s opening last year on Broadway, where he’s still performing at the New Amsterdam Theater. Of course, the chimneysweep was originally played on screen in Disney’s classic 1964 film by Dick Van Dyke (dodgy cockney accent and all). Now we hear that Lee may be following in Van Dyke’s footsteps again. According to the Daily Mail, Lee is lined up to play Albert Peterson in a new Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie, which has recently been workshopped in New York.
Aspiring songwriter Albert hatches a plot with his secretary - and girlfriend - to get rock ‘n’ roll phenomenon and draftee Conrad Birdie to sing one of his songs and kiss a high school girl goodbye on the Ed Sullivan show before shipping off to the military. Van Dyke created the role of Albert Peterson in the original 1960 Broadway production, for which he won a Tony Award, and on screen (with Ann Margret) in the 1963 film.
Bye Bye Birdie has a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams. Songs include “Put on a Happy Face”, “We Love You, Conrad”, “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” and the title number. A 1981 sequel Bring Back Birdie, in which Chita Rivera recreated her early career role as girlfriend Rose, closed after four performances. The original musical has never been revived on Broadway or in the West End. Maybe they were just waiting for the next Dick Van Dyke to appear …
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