Goodbye New York, hello Pittsfield! Annette O’Toole was originally slated to make her Broadway debut in Always...Patsy Cline this summer, but now that the production has been officially postponed, the stage and screen star is headlining the new musical Southern Comfort alongside Broadway vet Jeff McCarthy at Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires. In the new folk/bluegrass musical, O'Toole and McCarthy will play a transgender couple living in Georgia. Featuring a book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick Davis Southern Comfort will be helmed by Thomas Caruso. The production will begin performances July 19, and is slated to open July 24.
Based on the 2001 documentary of the same name, Southern Comfort tells the story of Robert Eads (O’Toole), a transgender male, and his trans girlfriend Lola Cola (McCarthy) as they navigate life and its challenges in the back hills of “Bubba Land” Georgia. The musical is a celebration of a uniquely American family living life openly, honestly and courageously in the community they have grown to love. O’Toole and McCarthy reprise their roles after starring in the musical at CAP21 in New York City in 2011.
“When I got that script for [Southern Comfort] I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is scaring the hell out of me,’" McCarthy told Broadway.com. “You know, I’m a straight guy, but it turned out to be a real eye-opener about intimacy. It’s challenging material socially, but it’s a beautifully compassionate piece.”
O’Toole’s many film and TV credits include Smallville, 48 Hrs., Superman III, Cat People, My Three Sons, Cross My Heart, Bridge to Terabithia, The Huntress, Nash Bridges and The Outer Limits. McCarthy’s Broadway credits include The Pirate Queen, Urinetown, Side Show, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, Smile and Zorba. He performed the title role in How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Madison Square Garden and on tour. His film and TV credits include All My Children, The Good Wife and Law and Order.
In addition to O’Toole and McCarthy, Southern Comfort features Todd Cerveris (South Pacific) as Sam, Natalie Joy Johnson (Legally Blonde) as Carly, Jeffrey Kuhn (The 39 Steps) as Jackson, David Lutken (Inherit the Wind), Robin Skye (Parade), Elizabeth Ward Land, Joel Waggoner and Lizzie Hagsteadt (Sweeney Todd national tour).
Southern Comfort will play a limited engagement through August 10.