Dear World, Jerry Herman's musicalization of The Madwoman of Chaillot, is on the brink of getting a 30th-anniversary spin from The Roundabout Theatre in a revival for next season that would star one of the original Jerry's Girls, Chita Rivera
Director Scott Ellis is pulling together a workshop to that effect and put the project into rehearsal March 30 for a staged-reading presentation two weeks later. David Thomson, who worked with Ellis on And the World Goes 'Round and Steel Pier, is revising the musical's book, which Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee adapted from the famous Jean Giradoux play.
The original Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton and produced by Alexander H. Cohen, opened Feb. 6, 1969, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and ran only 132 performances--but this was enough for Angela Lansbury to win the second of her four Tony Awards.
The show reunited La Lansbury with her Mame authors, but it suffered from comparison--although Herman's score is still hailed as one of his most melodic; some of the songs have gone on to become cult favorites and evergreens ("And I Was Beautiful," "I Don't Want To Know," "I've Never Said I Love You," "Kiss Her Now," "One Person," the title tune, et al).
A dream cast, almost all Tony winners, is being assembled to support Rivera's Countess Aurelia. Debra (Ah, Wilderness!) Monk and Madeline (The Sisters Rosensweig) Kahn will play Gabrielle and Constance, the other two madwomen originated by Jane Connell and Carmen Matthews, and Audra (Ragtime) MacDonald is doing the Pamela Hall part of Nina. In Milo O'Shea's role of Sewerman is Alfred Molina, who is currently delivering his first Tony-eligible performance in Art. "We're just going to work on it the first two weeks in April," says Ellis. "Then, we'll do the reading and see how it feels, see what we have."
Rivera told Playbill On-Line (Mar. 12), "We'll bring it in [to NY] but not until we get it perfect."
-- By Harry Haun