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Photograph: Andrew EcclesDisaster!

Exclusive: Meet the all-star cast of Broadway's musical Disaster!

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

Attention, Broadway: Brace yourself for Disaster! A campy spoof of star-studded 1970s crisis flicks like The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and Airport, the show was a hit Off Broadway in 2013; reviewing it then, I called it "knockout fun." Now Jack Plotnick and Seth Rudetsky's ingeniously silly jukebox musical—built around more than 30 retro favorites, including "Hot Stuff," "Feelings," "I Am Woman" and "Never Can Say Goodbye"—is making the leap to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, where it starts previews on February 9. And like the movies that inspired it, Disaster! features an all-star cast, including Adam Pascal (Rent), Kerry Butler (Xanadu) and Faith Prince (Guys and Dolls), with Rudetsky and the hilarious Jennifer Simard reprising their Off Broadway roles as, respectively, a nervous scientist and a nun with a problem.

Are you ready for this winning combination of disco and inferno? We asked eight cast members to give us a brief introduction to the people they'll be playing aboard the doomed floating casino in Disaster!, and they graciously agreed—and the nice folks at Disaster! have given us unpublished portraits of each of them in character. So here is an exclusive advance look at the cast of characters who will soon be spreading their panic deliciously thick on Broadway. Enjoy and stay safe.

Star: Roger Bart
Past shows: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Producers, Young Frankenstein
Character’s name:
Tony Delvecchio
Character’s job: Opening the Barracuda, the largest and most successful floating casino on the Eastern Seaboard
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Harvey Korman, or Daffy Duck in the animated version
Character’s signature song: “Do You Wanna Make Love” (Peter McCann)
Character’s greatest strength: A relentless commitment to self-preservation
Character’s greatest weakness: Swimming 

Star: Kerry Butler
Past shows:
Xanadu, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors
Character's name: Marianne Wilson
Character’s job: Freelance reporter
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Teri Garr or Jane Fonda
Character’s signature song: “I Am Woman” (Helen Reddy)
Character’s greatest strength: Her drive
Character’s greatest weakness: Her drive

Star: Kevin Chamberlin
Past shows: The Addams Family, Seussical, Dirty Blonde
Character's name: Maury Summers
Character’s job: Retired newsstand owner
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Ernest Borgnine
Character’s signature song: “Still the One” (Orleans)
Character’s greatest strength: Unconditional devotion to his wife, Shirley
Character’s greatest weakness: Cheese danish

Star: Adam Pascal
Past shows: Rent, Aida, Memphis
Character's name: Chad
Character’s job: Waiter
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: David Soul
Character’s signature song: “Without You” (Harry Nilsson)
Character’s greatest strength: Devotion
Character’s greatest weakness: Uses sex as a distraction from fear

Star: Faith Prince
Past shows: Guys & Dolls, A Catered Affair, Bells Are Ringing
Character's name: Shirley Summers (sort of a tribute to Shelley Winters)
Character’s job: Housewife to Maury Summers For 35 Years
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Cloris Leachman, Anne Bancroft or Bea Arthur
Character’s signature song: “Still The One” (Orleans)
Character’s greatest strength: Tenacious, noble and ultimately selfless
Character’s greatest weakness: Compromised immune and nervous system!

Star: Seth Rudetsky
Past shows: The Ritz, Disaster!
Character's name: Professor Ted Scheider
Character’s job: Disaster expert
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Bill Bixby but Jewish
Character’s signature song: “Sky High” (Jigsaw)
Character’s greatest strength: Adept at shutting down all emotions
Character’s greatest weakness: Can't control shutting down all emotions

Star: Jennifer Simard
Past shows: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Forbidden Broadway, Disaster!
Character's name: Sister Mary Downy
Character’s job: Nun
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Jennifer Simard
Character’s signature song: "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Gloria Gaynor)
Character’s greatest strength: High bone density
Character’s greatest weakness: Gambling addiction

Star: Rachel York
Past shows: City of Angels, Victor/Victoria, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Character's name: Jackie Noelle
Character’s job: Nightclub singer on the Barracuda
Actor who would have played the character in a 1970s movie: Georgia Engel or Ann-Margaret. Julie Hagerty would've been hired for the remake 10 years later.
Character’s signature song: “Saturday Night” (Bay City Rollers)
Character’s greatest strength: Sees the good in everyone
Character’s greatest weakness: Has a history of choosing the worst men for herself and her children. She could also stand to read more instead of just looking at the pictures

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