The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the spring of 2001 is a mystery to me. I mean, it checks a lot of "musicals I'm interested in seeing" boxes. First, it is based on the classic novel by one of my all-time favorite authors, Mark Twain. Next, it had to be a great companion to another Twain-based musical that I really enjoyed, Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It featured a book by then go-to guy Ken Ludwig of Crazy For You and Lend Me a Tenor fame, and, most deliciously, a score by an unknown to theater, who wrote the catchy story-song, "The Gambler," Don Schlitz. And most definitely a cause to see the show: a cast of Broadway regulars and new comers. It's always great to see who is up and coming! All of those reasons to see Tom, Huck, Becky and Aunt Polly, and I still missed it. It probably had all to do with the fact that it was short-lived.
One That Got Away:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Broadway regulars in the cast included: Tom Aldredge, Jane Connell, John Dossett, and Linda Purl. Broadway new comers in the cast included: Kristen Bell (Becky), Joshua Park (Tom Sawyer), Jim Poulos (Huck Finn), Tommar Wilson, Kate Reinders and Nikki M. James. Fun fact #1: Jane Connell's husband, Gordon Connell starred as Mark Twain in Big River! Fun fact #2: Jim Poulos was the very first replacement for the role of Mark in Rent!
Promotional Photos: Joshua Park (left)
Kristen Bell, Jim Poulos and Joshua Park (right)
Kristen Bell, Jim Poulos and Joshua Park
Joshua Park, Kristen Bell and Linda Purl
Jane Connell and Jim Poulos
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer played 34 previews and 21 performances at the Minskoff Theatre. It was nominated for 4 Drama Desk Awards, including Best Sets, Best Costumes, Best Lighting and Best Orchestrations. The show was also nominated for two Tony Awards - Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting. Joshua Park won a Theatre World Award for his debut.