Piterman, LaBonte to join An Officer and a Gentleman cast

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Five more pieces of the An Officer and a Gentleman casting puzzle have been revealed today by Producers John Frost and Sharleen Cooper Cohen.

Since this brand new musical began workshops in Australia more than two years ago, Producer John Frost has been keen build this dream into a reality.

Amanda Harrison, Ben Mingay, Alex Rathgeber and Kate Kendall were announced as the lead cast for the upcoming World Premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman by co-producer John Frost last year, but today the focus is on the supporting lead cast.

AussieTheatre.com can now confirm that Barthlomew John, Bert LaBonte, Josh Piterman, Zahra Newman and Josef Brown will be among the premiere cast.

Bartholomew John (Doctor Zhivago, The Sound of Music, Titanic) plays Byron Mayo, Zack’s father, a Navy enlisted man and whore-chasing hell-raiser determined to pass his negative legacy on to his son; as well as Admiral Worley, the by-the-book patriarch of a military family.

Bert LaBonte (Guys and Dolls, Next to Normal, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) will appear as Sgt Emil Foley, the screen role which won an Academy Award for Lou Gossett Jnr. Foley is the toughest Drill Instructor in the world; the iron-fisted nemesis of every naval candidate, he will find their weakness and press until they crumble.

Straying from his usual leading-man role (think Tony in West Side Story) Josh Piterman has been cast as Ramon Guiterrez, the hot-blooded Latino recruit who Foley calls “Drama Queen”.

Zahra Newman (Clybourne Park, The Drowsy Chaperone) plays the role of Taniya Seeger, an African American woman from the street whose chip on her shoulder and her weak upper body strength could be her undoing.

And Josef Brown (Dirty Dancing, Man of La Mancha) is Charlie Redding, a somewhat older candidate with a family trying to rise up from the enlisted ranks and become an officer.

The World Premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman will open in Sydney on May 18 at the Lyric Theatre, The Star.

“The plan is to open here [Lyric Theatre] in May, run 16-19 weeks and then to Melbourne” Producer John Frost told AussieTheatre.com’s David Allen last year.

Frost also indicated that, depending upon sales and interest in the show, there is a high possibility of an Australian tour and international productions.

Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner.

Directed by Simon Phillips (Love Never Dies, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) choreographed by Andrew Hallsworth and musically directed by Dave Skelton, the show will be the second in a triptych of shows produced by John Frost at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney.


The first track of this brand new score (by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner) was released earlier this month for download via the show’s Facebook page. This Thursday, the second track from the show will also be available for download, complete with a music video

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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