'Gilligan's Island: The Musical' premieres on regional stage


FLAT ROCK, N.C. -- Last year, the national limelight shone on Flat Rock Playhouse when it launched Burt Reynolds' one-man show. This year, the media is focusing on the official North Carolina state theater for an even more famous visitor.

"Gilligan's Island: The Musical" had its world premiere last night in this tiny tourist haven in the North Carolina mountains.

That's right, rerun fans, the 1960s sitcom is being turned into a musical this summer. From Flat Rock, the show will tour and eventually may go on to Broadway. Gilligan, the Skipper, too. The millionaire, and his wife. A movie star. The professor and Mary Ann.

The musical is the brainchild of Sherwood Schwartz, who created the original "Gilligan's Island" and the '70s series "The Brady Bunch." And he wrote the famous Gilligan theme song, which will be included in the musical.

The musical's creative team also includes his son, Lloyd Schwartz, and the music and lyrics team of Faith and Hope Juber.

Mr. Schwartz has been tinkering with the idea of a musical version of "Gilligan" for 16 years. "Ever since the first time I saw 'Annie' on Broad

way," Mr. Schwartz said. "I realized that people who were affluent enough to buy tickets on Broadway then were 6, 8, 12 when they read 'Little Orphan Annie,' and that the demographics were coming soon for the age of 'Gilligan's' viewers. And a South Pacific island is a natural for musical comedy -- remember 'South Pacific'?"

Could the show be a big hit on Broadway? The success in New York and Los Angeles of "The Real Live Brady Bunch" suggests it could. And, said Mr. Schwartz, at least one of the songs already is a certifiable hit:

"It may be the first time in music theater history that an audience will sing the opening song along with the performers."

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