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‘It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane …’ it’s the musical revival’s Superman

superman-broadwayThe first photo has surfaced of Edward Watts as a rather old-school Man of Steel in the Encores! revival of It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman, which opens tonight for a five day run at New York City Center. (Cue complaints about DC Comics’ New 52 redesign.)

Yes, long before Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark wreaked havoc on cast members and production budgets, or even ads for the aborted Captain America musical puzzled comics readers in the mid-1980s, Superman soared to Broadway in 1966 in a show directed by none other than Harold Prince. OK, “soared” is a bit of an overstatement, as It’s a Bird … closed after 129 performances (still, it garnered three Tony nominations).

While it’s been revived on a handful of occasions, the best-known version is the abbreviated television adaptation starring Lesley Ann Warren, David Wilson and Loretta Switt that aired in 1975 on ABC. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the stagings, don’t feel bad: Watts wasn’t either.

“I only knew that it existed, actually,” he tells Broadway.com. “Quite frankly, I never really thought I would play Superman. I used to work for a company that would hire out actors to play characters at their company picnics during the summer, but it wasn’t really a show — you just put the costume on and walk around and take pictures with the kids.

Watts is joined by Jenny Power as Lois Lane and Alli Mauzey as Sydney Carlton.

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