Allergist's Wife Begins Rehearsals Sept. 13; Bway Previews Start Oct. 11

News   Allergist's Wife Begins Rehearsals Sept. 13; Bway Previews Start Oct. 11 Rehearsals begin Sept. 13 for the fall Broadway remount of the spring Off-Broadway hit, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, aiming for a first preview of Oct. 11.
Michele Lee and Linda Lavin in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.
Michele Lee and Linda Lavin in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

Rehearsals begin Sept. 13 for the fall Broadway remount of the spring Off-Broadway hit, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, aiming for a first preview of Oct. 11.

The Ethel Barrymore Theatre will be ground zero for the earthquake of angst and depression experienced by the title character in Charles Busch's New Yorky comedy, about a depressive, kvetching Upper West Side wife (played by Linda Lavin) who cannot find hope in her life despite her intellectual, social and charitable activities.

Tale, which sold out its 10-week Off-Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club, will open on Broadway Nov. 2, starring the cast that helped make it a hit: Lavin, Michele Lee, Tony Roberts, Shirl Bernheim and Anil Kumar. MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow again stages the show.

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It was thought that Lavin (playing whining, aching Upper Westsider Marjorie Taub) might only tell the hit Tale for a few months due to her starring in announced revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound in repertory in Miami and then Broadway, but Lavin pulled out of the Simon revivals to stick to her Tale. Beach Beach Memoirs will play Miami and then Manhattan, but plans for Broadway Bound have been dropped; no star has been announced. *

For the Broadway Allergist's Wife, MTC will partner with producers Carol Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer to present the Broadway staging of the comedy about a depressive Upper West Side Jewish pseudo intellectual housewife (Lavin) whose comic self-hatred is alleviated by the arrival of free-living, free-loving childhood friend (Lee). Roberts plays Lavin's blase allergist husband, Bernheim is her hateful, aging mother and Kumar is the building's doorman.

Designers remain Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).

Meadow , MTC artistic director, staged The Tale, which opened Feb. 29 at MTC's Stage II. Previews began Feb. 8 and word of mouth, plus solid reviews, fueled a sellout.

Playwright Busch is the popular drag performer and scribe whose work includes Psycho Beach Party, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Green Heart and Die! Mommy! Die!

Lee was the strong-willed Karen on TV's "Knots Landing," appeared in the film, "How to Succeed Without Really Trying," and sang the songs of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields in Broadway's Seesaw (earning a Tony Award nomination).

Lavin starred in TV's "Alice," but is also remembered for Broadway's Broadway Bound (she won the Best Actress Tony Award for playing Kate Jerome) and the most recent Broadway revival of Gypsy (after Tyne Daly).

Roberts appeared in Play It Again Sam, Sugar and Victor/Victoria on Broadway, and Woody Allen's film, "Annie Hall," among other pictures.

Bernheim appeared in the world premiere of Old Lady's Guide to Survival at The Humana Festival of New American Plays (and later Off-Broadway), and as Miss Lynch in Grease on Broadway and on tour. She is veteran of many American regional theaters.

Kumar made his Broadway debut in The Public Theater's Macbeth and was Dilip in the American premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink.

The Tale of the Allergist's Wife closed April 16 at MTC.

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Broadway tickets are $30-$70. The Barrymore Theatre is at 243 W. 47th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. Call (212) 239-6200 for information.