Broadway Revival of Wonderful Town to Open on Nov. 23

News   Broadway Revival of Wonderful Town to Open on Nov. 23
 
The Leonard Bernstein-Adolph Green-Betty Comden show Wonderful Town has an opening date. The Broadway revival will open Nov. 23 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, after previews from Nov. 4.

The revival will star Donna Murphy. Further casting is currently underway. Barry and Fran Weissler and Roger Berlind will produce. The production would begin in November or December. Kathleen Marshall will direct. The engagement would mark Murphy's first show on Broadway since winning two Tonys for The King and I and Passion.

Interest in Wonderful Town began with a successful concert version at City Center Encores!, starring Murphy.

Murphy's schedule has had a lot to do with the project's ups and downs over the past three years. Speaking of Wonderful Town, Murphy told Playbill On-Line in 2002: "Initially there was a lot of talk of my doing it. But after a while, I was offered this television show, and I couldn't wait anymore. Then, the producers were waiting to see the fate of that show, which was a replacement series. And we did get picked up and we shot nine episodes. But then we got canceled after only a few aired. So I was available and there was talk of bringing in Wonderful Town in the spring. But I got pregnant."

The Encores! Show also starred Laura Benanti, currently in Nine and set for The Violet Hour this fall. Also in the Encores! cast were Richard Muenz, David Aaron Baker, Lewis J. Stadlen, Gregory Jbara , Becky Ann Baker, Alix Korey, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Stephen DeRosa, Patrick Quinn, Ray Wills, Jenny Hill and Steve Ryan. Kathleen Marshall directed and choreographed.

* Wonderful Town has never had a major Broadway revival. The story brings characters from My Sister Eileen back to life. The parade of Greenwich Village life in the 1930s includes such songs as "Conga!," "Ohio," "Christopher Street," "My Darlin' Eileen," "A Quiet Girl," "What a Waste" and "Wrong Note Rag." Rosalind Russell starred as big sister Ruth in both the original and in a TV version. Both versions are on CD, as are others: A London revival, a studio-cast recording of the entire score (on the Jay label) and yet another recent studio-cast recording conducted by Simon Rattle (on the EMI Classics label), with Audra McDonald as little sister Eileen.

The score is famous for being written in only a few months, in order to fit star Russell's schedule.

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