If you thought
David Hasselhoff's YouTube video rendition of ''Hooked on
a Feeling'' was kitschy, just wait until you see him in a
Baywatch lifeguard takes on the role of
flamboyant director Roger DeBris in the musical The
Producers, which began preview performances
Wednesday at the Paris casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
The official opening is February 9.
It marks the
latest quirky departure for ''The Hoff,'' who on YouTube
dons a fur parka, flies through the air hanging onto a
motorcycle, and sings on a boat in front of an
chopped-down 90-minute version of the Tony
award-winning Broadway musical, Hasselhoff
sings, dances, and gets very campy, taking part in gay
jokes that he insists are ''really tongue in cheek, and
they're meant with a lot of respect.''
''When I put on
the dress, it was very disconcerting. I said, 'There goes
my audience,''' said Hasselhoff, 54. ''But I think it will
be so funny and so over the top that people will enjoy
pipes--he enjoys fame in Germany as a
singer--and athleticism helped land him the
role, said director and choreographer Susan Stroman.
He has also played Billy Flynn in Chicago in
London and made his Broadway debut in 2000 in the title role
of Jekyll & Hyde, which opened in 1997.
''He does have
the chops to get through it,'' Stroman said. The former
Knight Rider actor also has his ''ego in check''
and doesn't take his Hollywood persona too seriously, she
said. ''He has a fearless quality, and he's not afraid
to try anything.''
star billing for the show, even though it's mainly about
a scheme by producer Max Bialystock, played by Brad Oscar,
and his accountant Leo Bloom, played by Larry Raben,
to over-finance a surefire Broadway flop and pocket
''It's still the
story about Max and Leo,'' although their scenes are
shortened, Stroman said. None of DeBris's appearances are
abbreviated, she said.
''I have to say
[David] has been very gracious about letting it be Max
and Leo's show. Max and Leo have the last bow,'' she said.
But Hasselhoff is
clearly the draw for the casino's show, said Michael
Weaver, vice president of marketing for Paris Las Vegas, and
will attract an international female audience that has
seen him on TV.
he will be with the show at least three months, and
afterward he'll resume taping of America's Got
Talent on which he's a judge.
He may do both
for a while and perhaps even migrate to another property
on the Strip with a one-man singing show: ''Something very
straight,'' he said. ''Something for the ladies.''
(Ryan Nakashima, AP)