The Roundabout Theatre Company production of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical about a nightclub performer who sleeps his way (with one rich Mrs. Simpson) into owning his own joint, was extended by two weeks.
This provocative new Joe Mantello-directed production was noteworthy for its backstage story (Tony Award winner Christian Hoff left the show in previews after a foot injury, to be replaced by unknown ensemble performer/understudy Matthew Risch) and its onstage sparks (a gay subplot was added, R&H songs were interpolated, and Martha Plimpton — not known for musicals — wowed critics as been-around nightclub performer named Gladys Bumps).
The new book is based on the original libretto by John O'Hara. Pal Joey has music direction by Tony winner Paul Gemignani and choreography by Graciela Daniele.
(The Tony Awards Administration Committee ruled in recent weeks that the new book by Greenberg will be eligible in the Book of a Musical category in the 2008-09 Tony season, and that Martha Plimpton will be considered eligible in the Featured Actress in a Musical category.)
The production stars Tony winner Stockard Channing as Vera Simpson, newcomer Risch (Legally Blonde) as Joey Evans, Tony nominee Plimpton as Gladys and Jenny Fellner (Mamma Mia!) as good-girl Linda English. Pal Joey began previews on Nov. 14, 2008, and opened officially on Dec. 18, 2008.
The cast of Pal Joey also features Robert Clohessy (in the much-beefed-up role of Mike), Daniel Marcus (Ludlow Lowell), Steven Skybell (Ernest), Timothy J. Alex, Brian Barry, Kurt Froman, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Lisa Gajda, Anthony Holds, Nadine Isenegger, Mark Morettini, Kathryn Mowat Murphy, Abbey O'Brien, Hayley Podschun, Krista Saab and Eric Sciotto.
The design team includes two-time Tony winner Scott Pask (sets), five-time Tony winner William Ivey Long (costumes), Tony nominee Paul Gallo (lights), Tony Meola (sound), Don Sebesky (orchestrator), Eric Stern (dance arranger) and Paul Huntley (hair and wig design).
Here's how Roundabout bills the show: "Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, Pal Joey is the story of Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song and dance man with dreams of owning his own nightclub. Joey abandons his wholesome girlfriend Linda English, to charm a rich, married older woman, Vera Simpson, in the hope that she'll set him up in business."
The Rodgers & Hart score includes "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "I Could Write a Book," "You Mustn't Kick It Around," "Chicago" and more. This new production also features "I'm Talking to My Pal," a song that had been dropped from the score during its out-of-town tryout, plus two interpolated Rodgers & Hart songs.
For more information call (212) 719-1300 or visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.