Laura Morgan
May 26, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Stage Fright
Ready to sing The Body Ventura? If producer Pierre Cossette has his way, theatergoers will be body-slamming to a Broadway rock musical of that name based on the life of wrestler-cum-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Cossette—who won a Tony for The Will Rogers Follies — sees a natural hero in the self-made Ventura, who signed over the rights to his life story. Cossette envisions a script equal parts How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Li’l Abner, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Rocky. If that’s not enough, he’s been discussing the title role with Baywatch beefcake/Euro-pop star David Hasselhoff. ”He’s big, and he dances and sings great,” reasons Cossette.

As for the music, don’t count on Sondheim-style show tunes. ”Jesse’s not really heavy metal, but he’s a rock & roller,” says Cossette. ”So we’d do it that way, with a ’70s and ’80s feel.” That may scare Broadway-loving blue-hairs, but the dancing could keep them pinned to their seats. Cossette hopes to enlist toe-tapping Follies colleague Tommy Tune to choreograph. When told of the project, however, Tune’s spokesman said, ”You’re joking, right? Have we run out of topics?” Still, he won’t rule it out: ”Well, Tommy has done some offbeat things.” No date is set for the opening, but Cossette says to get ready to rumble: ”It will be a people’s show, not a critic’s show.” Kind of like the Body himself.

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