Edelman, Westfeldt in Talks to Star in Broadway Revival of Wonderful Town

News   Edelman, Westfeldt in Talks to Star in Broadway Revival of Wonderful Town
 
Gregg Edelman is in negotiations to play the lead male role of Robert Baker in the fall Broadway revival of the Bernstein-Comden-Green musical Wonderful Town, a representative for the actor confirmed.

If cast, Broadway vet Edelman would join Donna Murphy, who stars. Murphy and Edelman acted together in 1994's Passion. No casting beyond Murphy has been officially announced. The character of Robert Baker sings the choice Bernstein ballad, "A Quiet Girl," and the peppery tale of career disappointment, "What a Waste."

Also in negotations is "Kissing Jessica Stein" star Jennifer Westfeldt, for the role of Eileen. A spokesman for the actress confirmed that she was in talks, but added that she had not yet been offered the role.

Edelman most recently acted in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods as Prince Charming and the Wolf. He was also nominated for the 1997 revival of 1776, in which he played against type as the racist Southern politician Edward Rutledge. Other nominations were for 1990's City of Angels and 1993's Anna Karenina.

The production will open Nov. 23 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, after previews from Nov. 5 (one day later than the previously announced Nov. 4). Barry and Fran Weissler and Roger Berlind produce. Kathleen Marshall will direct.

Tickets for the Broadway revival of the Leonard Bernstein-Adolph Green Betty Comden show, Wonderful Town, are now on sale. Interested parties should call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200. * 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 set for The Violet Hour. 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.

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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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