BY GEORGE J. DACRE
Westchester Broadway Theatre will be showcasing “Backwards and in Heels,” a musical about Ginger Roger’s public and private life, from August 13 – September 20. The musical first premiered at Florida Stage in 2007 and sold out its entire run.
What makes this adaption so remarkable is Jeremy Benton. Benton, who is directing the production, is also choreographing the dance numbers, all while playing male lead, Fred Astaire. Benton, who previously starred “Singing in the Rain” and “White Christmas” at WBT, tells the Rockland County Times it’s a “piece of cake” to juggle all three roles.
Benton says he “just wears whatever hat is called for and rehearsals [at WBT] are doing just great…I am happy and blessed to have Amy Van Nostrand as assistant choreographer and Darien Craig as Ginger.”
WBT’s Pia Haas says “Backwards On High Heels” is a “toe tapping, swirling, gliding account of Ginger Rogers’ ambitious public and private life.” The musical got its title from a 1982 quote of a cartoon called “Frank and Ernest” based on Astaire and Rogers.
The cartoon stated, “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did …backwards and in high heels.”
Ginger, born in Independence, Missouri, made her debut after winning a contest in Ft. Worth, which became her hometown. Three years later, she was on Broadway in New York and became a star. Hollywood beckoned and she partnered with Astaire in a series of films in the 1930s.
The play follows Rogers’ from a 15-year-old vaudeville actress to Hollywood screen siren and delves into her surprising private life.
“Backwards In High Heels: The Ginger Rogers Story” will runs at Westchester Broadway Theatre August 13 through September 20. Tickets at 914-592-2222 or broadwaytheatre.com.