Preliminary casting for Marty, the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams-Rupert Holmes musical which has been in development for several years and set to debut at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company, has been confirmed by a Huntington spokesperson. The production is set to run at the Beantown venue Oct. 18-Nov. 24.
Among the names confirmed thus far are Jim Bracchitta (the 1991 revival of Gypsy), Jennifer Frankel (The Wild Party, On the Town), Cheryl McMahon, Evan Pappas (Parade, My Favorite Year), Marilyn Pasekoff (I Hate Hamlet, Forbidden Broadway), Matt Ramsey, Joey Sorge (Follies, Saturday Night) and Anne Torsiglieri (Parade, Blood Brothers) — who starred as Marty's love interest Clara in prior readings.
Robert Jones will design sets for the production. Further casting and designers to be announced.
The show and the film focus on a homely, unassuming Bronx butcher who wins a new lease on life through an unexpected romance. Rupert Holmes penned the libretto. Considering the talent involved, including Strouse and Adams, the Tony Award winning songwriting team of Bye Bye Birdie and Applause, the show is expected to have a commercial life after Boston if all the pieces fall together properly (which means if critics and audiences are encouraging).
Mark Brokaw (Lobby Hero) directs John C. Reilly (True West) in the title role. Previous readings included Reilly, Torsiglieri and Barbara Andres (playing Marty's mother). A New York City reading of the show was held Feb. 15.
In 2000, the show took on a new bookwriter in the person of Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Holmes replaced Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, television's "The West Wing" and "Sports Night"). Holmes told Playbill On-Line Feb. 1, 2002, that he did not adapt or rewrite Sorkin's script, but rather wrote a new libretto from scratch.
Holmes said the musical will be combination of intimate and grand elements. "When 'Marty' won the Oscar," said Holmes, "Hollywood thought the only way to complete was to make things wider, bigger, better. They were trying to complete with TV. And along comes 'Marty,' a small story about a lonely butcher. I think to make [the story] into 'Marty!' with an exclamation mark, or have Marty vow to break the butchers' union, would be so inappropriate. [The musical is] about a character."
Still, the show will feature a couple moments of spectacle, including one scene where the lovers go to a ballroom to dance.
Robert Longbottom was previously attached to the project as director. He is currently busy with the Broadway-bound revised revival of Flower Drum Song.
The Huntington Theatre Company upcoming 2002-03 season includes Brian Friel's adaptation of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country (Sept. 6-Oct. 6), Marty, the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams-Rupert Holmes musical (Oct. 18-Nov. 24), a Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment presentation of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Dec. 12-Jan. 12, 2003), The Blue Demon written and directed by Darko Tresnjak (Jan. 3-Feb. 2, 2003), Kia Corthron's Breath, Boom (March 7-April 6, 2003) and the Benn Levy comedy Springtime for Henry(May 16-June 15, 2003.)
For subscription information or more on the Huntington Theatre Company at 264 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA, call the Box Office at (617) 266-0800. Also visit the website at www.huntingtontheater.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez
and Kenneth Jones