1930s Farce Room Service Optioned for Broadway Revival

News   1930s Farce Room Service Optioned for Broadway Revival The play, which was adapted as a Marx Brothers movie, is aiming for a 2017-2018 opening.
The Marx Brothers (Harpo, Groucho and Chico) and Lucille Ball in the film <i>Room Service</i>
The Marx Brothers (Harpo, Groucho and Chico) and Lucille Ball in the film Room Service Billy Rose Theatre Collection

Producers Michael Pressman and Andrew Ames have announced that they have optioned the 1937 screwball comedy Room Service for a Broadway revival in the 2017-2018 season.

Written by Allen Boretz and John Murray, the play starred Eddie Albert (Green Acres) and Sam Levene (Guys and Dolls) and ran exactly 500 performances on Broadway, but the property is probably best known for its 1938 adaptation as a film vehicle for The Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball. The play was also adapted as a lesser-known 1944 movie musical Step Lively with Frank Sinatra.

No casting, theatre or specific dates were announced for the new revival.

The play tells the story of a broke Broadway producer who needs to stay in his hotel room so he can impress a backer for his surefire-hit next play, while dodging hotel management that is determined to evict him.

The play was revived in 1953 with Jack Lemmon early in this career, and again in 1986 as an Off-Broadway production for Roundabout Theatre starring Mark Hamill. The most recent New York revival In 1997 the play was adapted for the New Vaudeville troupe, the Flying Karamazov Brothers.

Lonny Price, Ann McDonough, and Mark Hamill in the 1986 Roundabout Theatre production of <i>Room Service</i>
Lonny Price, Ann McDonough, and Mark Hamill in the 1986 Roundabout Theatre production of Room Service Martha Swope

Ames and Pressman issued a joint statement, saying "With things so surreal in the world today, just being able to laugh can be a big relief. It beats crying. That's one reason we think the timing is so right for this project. The Marx Brothers made Room Service famous. But it was a huge theatrical hit before that and has been in productions all around the world ever since. Now, Room Service is more relevant—and perhaps more essential to our survival—than ever before. ”

Pressman, who was executive producer on the Emmy-winning TV series Picket Fences, will also direct the revival. He directed the 2008 Broadway revival of Come Back, Little Sheba. Ames is an Emmy Award-winning television production executive and producer/director, whose credits include Sesame Street, Candid Camera and Good Morning America. He's earned nine Emmy nominations and won an Emmy as a producer of Reading Rainbow.

Here is the dinner scene from the Marx Brothers’ film:

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