The Broadway Theatre, previously thought to be home to The Visit in spring 2001, will instead get the new revival of the Betty Comden Adolph Green-Jule Styne musical, Bells Are Ringing, starring Faith Prince.
An April 2001 Bells opening is planned, following previews and a Feb. 20-25, 2001 tryout at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT.
Tina Landau (Floyd Collins, Space) will direct; Jeff Calhoun (Annie Get Your Gun, Grease!) is the choreographer. Beth Fowler (Baby, Beauty and the Beast) and David Garrison (Faust) have been mentioned for roles, but Prince (Tony Award winner for Guys and Dolls) is the only confirmed cast member.
The 1956 tuner starred Judy Holliday, the longtime pal of Comden and Green.
Prince, who won a Tony Award for playing Adelaide in the revival of Guys and Dolls, will star as Ella Peterson, who works the board at her cousin Sue's telephone answering service, Susanswerphone, meddling in the lives of New York clients, including the handsome playwright, Jeffrey Moss (yet to be cast). A bookie posing as a classical-music record producer, a songwriting dentist, a detective, a neighbor who can cha-cha and a host of oddball clients are also part of the musical comedy mix. Producers are Mitchell Maxwell, Victoria Maxwell and Mark Balsam for Momentum Productions, Inc., and Robert Barandes.
The libretto and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and score by Jule Styne offer a breezy, satiric, but sweetly affectionate view of then modern New York City, where subway rides turn friendly ("Hello, Hello There!"), walks in the park become reasons for singing ("Just in Time") and celebrity soirees can make a middle-class girl feel inferior ("The Party's Over").
The score also includes "Mu-Cha-Cha," "I Met a Girl," "It's a Simple Little System," "Salzburg," "I'm Going Back," "Long Before I Knew You," "Is It a Crime?," "It's a Perfect Relationship" and "The Midas Touch" (some stage versions also have used the song "It's Better Than a Dream," apparently written for the 1960 film — the song is actually listed in a late run Playbill of the original production).
The staging was to have premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse Nov. 3, but was canceled due to the huge show's financial constraints on the nonprofit house.
Actress Prince has done much musical work in New York City in recent seasons, from taking over for Blair Brown in James Joyce's The Dead to following Donna Murphy in The King and I. She's best known for her Tony-winning Adelaide in the Guys and Dolls revival. She recently released an album of her latest cabaret show, Leap of Faith.
Director Landau's recent Off-Broadway credits include Space and Dream True, and she'll stage The Ballad of Little Jo early this fall at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.
The original production of Bells Are Ringing ran 924 performances, under the direction of Jerome Robbins.m Robbins and Bob Fosse choreographed.
The Kander and Ebb musical, The Visit, was originally announced for spring 2001 at the Broadway Theatre (longtime home of Miss Saigon), but when star Angela Lansbury withdrew due to family reasons, the producer was unable to find a replacement and the staging was shelved. Other options for The Visit, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, are being mulled. Miss Saigon ends a nine-year run at the Broadway Dec. 31, 2000.