March 18, 2004

Tony Winner Cumming and Producers' Weber Set for Showtime Reefer Madness Musical

By Andrew Gans and Ernio Hernandez

Casting has been announced for Showtime's small-screen version of the Off-Broadway musical marijuana satire Reefer Madness.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will join former Producers star Steven Weber, Roulette's Ana Gasteyer and Neve Campbell for the movie musical. Cumming will star as the film's narrator, the Lecturer; Weber will play pot dealer Jack; Campbell will portray Miss Poppy; and Gasteyer will be the hostess of the Reefer Den, Mae. The cast will also include some of the stars of the 2000 Hudson Backstage Theatre stage production: Christian Campbell, Kristen Bell, John Kassir and Robert Torti.

Reteaming the original collaborators composer Kevin Murphy, lyricist Dan Studney and director Andy Fickman the screen adaptation will begin shooting in Vancouver starting in April for a 2005 broadcast.

Reefer Madness with music by Dan Studney, lyrics by Kevin Murphy, and a book by the duo, is based on a 1936 cautionary film meant to discourage young people from using marijuana. The film has since gained a cult following amusing rather than enlightening audiences.

Christian Campbell, Gregg Edelman and Michele Pawk lead the cast of the stage show, which had choreography from pop star and "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul. Andy Fickman, who directed the acclaimed west coast staging of Reefer Madness, returned to direct for the 2001 Off-Broadway run at the Variety Arts Theatre.

Showtime's "Reefer" will be the first joint production between Showtime and German production company Apollo Screen. Jim Veres and Jan Korbelin will serve as executive producers.

   
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