“Let My People Come” — yes, that title means exactly what you think it does — is still dropping trou and dropping jaws four decades after its off-Broadway debut in 1974.
The adults-only revue about sex is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a four-week run at Andrews Living Arts (ALA) in Fort Lauderdale. There are plans to mount productions in Key West and Orlando, as well as a possible Las Vegas residency.
“I had seen the production in New York at the Village Gate in my early 20s back in 1975,” ALA’s artistic director Robert Nation says. “I was really taken by it. It was a lot of fun. They really treated sex with respect and showed the beauty of it.”
Nation went on to stage-manage the show for 10 years in Philadelphia in the late 1970s and helped direct the touring production in Montreal, Canada.
“Over the years, material has been added and deleted,” says Earl Wilson Jr., the show’s composer. “So we have a lot of material that they can choose from. I must say, I haven’t done the show recently with the nudity, so the fact that [ALA] did it I thought was gorgeous, really spectacular.”
Wilson, who saw the show on opening weekend before leaving for Las Vegas to pave the way for a re-imagined Las Vegas production with new material in early 2015, says he also liked the interactivity of Nation’s staging.
“They bring the audience onstage to do various naughty things,” he says. “They seemed to love it.”
Wilson says the show came about through a conversation with longtime Tommy Tune producer Phil Oesterman, who directed “Let My People Come” during its Broadway run in 1976. “It was actually kind of a dare,” Wilson says.
The idea was to come up with a funnier, sunnier version of “Oh! Calcutta!” with stronger songs, which is why Nation feels the musical is right for Orlando and Key West.
“I think the show will play well in cities with lots of tourists,” Nation adds. “Orlando is such a big community with actors, either with Disney now or who used to work with Disney. Key West, too. And I think there are large crowds of people there who will enjoy it.”
“Let My People Come” will run through Sept. 6 at Andrews Living Arts Studio, 23 NW Fifth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $29.95. Call 800-838-3006 or go to AndrewsLivingArts.org. No one under 18 admitted.