“Tom Jones” inspired Tom Jones. Now, Tom Jones inspired “Tom Jones.”
“What’s New Pussycat?” — a new musical based on Henry Fielding’s classic bodice-ripper “Tom Jones” written by “Memphis” Tony winner Joe DiPietro and directed by Scott Ellis — will be presented next week in London.
The show’s jukebox score of Tom Jones hits includes “It’s Not Unusual,” “She’s a Lady,” “Delilah,” “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Sex Bomb” (for the curtain call) and others by the Welsh pop star who changed his name from Thomas Woodward after seizing inspiration from the 1963 Oscar winner “Tom Jones.”
The book and movie follow a randy rogue and his frisky adventures in mid-18th century England. The musical has jumped ahead 200 years. “London in the 1960s was like Oz,” Ellis told the Daily News. “The look, the vibe, the clothes. It was a sexual awakening — all those minis and tight pants. It’s all about sex.”
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Same goes for Jones, 77, who has collected a Grammy and a knighthood during his ongoing 50-plus-year career. Between his burly voice and form-hugging skintight pants he was such a turn-on that it wasn’t unusual for women in the audience to toss underwear at him.
Don’t expect any of that making its way into the musical, said Ellis. “That’s not what we’re going for.”
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